Mapping the Olympic growth machine


Theories of growth machines and urban regimes have informed the study of urban political economy for more than three decades, but these theories remain focused on intra-urban processes. Using a case study of the bidding process and the planning of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, we explore the transnational dimensions of the urban growth machine and explore common aspects between the growth machine and regime theory literature and the literatures on the entrepreneurial city and transnational urban policy transfers. Through its evolving networks with other urban regimes, Vancouver's growth machine provides a ready forum in which local elites can acquire specialized knowledge on new urban entrepreneurial strategies elsewhere. Actors situated in different parts of the local growth machine are establishing various connections with urban regimes in other cities, in what is best understood as a nascent growth machine diaspora. Growth machine and regime theories remain valid in their basic conceptualization and maintain their strength through their adaptability to various contexts, but can be enriched by analyses of policy circuits, travelling theories and learning networks.


Bjorn Surborg
Rob Van Wynsberghe
Elvin Wyly
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