Gina S. Warren


Big sporting events result in significant and long-lasting environmental and social consequences for host cities and their residents. This Article discusses the spectrum of harms including environmental degradation, excess energy consumption, sidestepping the rule of law, and social segregation through eviction. It outlines the current inefficient, or nonexistent, legal framework available to address these harms and analyzes how this lack of legal framework results in host cities relinquishing local control and oversight to event organizers. It then draws upon the social license literature and recommends host cities establish a solid legal framework prior to an event to reduce the emergency mindset as an event nears as well as to ensure public participation in the decision-making process. While it is difficult to promulgate a one-size-fits-all legal framework, certain factors such as transparency, meaningful participation, sustainability of decision-making, and concrete procedural mechanisms are critical to preventing and addressing environmental and social harms.

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