Home‎ > ‎



Yumin Yoo, Yooil Bae, and Eva Kassens-Noor (under contract, expected to be published in early 2017). Mega-Events and Mega Ambitions: South Korea’s Rise and the Stategic Use of Mega-Events. Palgrave McMillan

Kassens-Noor, E. (2012). Planning Olympic Legacies: Transport Dreams and Urban Realities. London, New York: Routledge



When a city wins the right to hold the Olympics, one of the often cited advantages to the region is the catalytic effect upon the urban and transport projects of the host cities. However, with unparalleled access to documents and records, Eva Kassens-Noor questions and challenges this fundamental assertion of host cities who claim to have used the Olympic Games as a way to move forward their urban agendas. In fact, transport dreams to stage the "perfect Games" of the International Olympic Committee and the governments of the host cities have lead to urban realities that significantly differ from the development path the city had set out to accomplish before winning the Olympic bid. Ultimately it is precisely the IOC's influence--and the city's foresight and sophistication (or lack thereof) in coping with it--that determines whether years after the Games there are legacies benefitting the former hosts. The text is supported by revealing interviews from lead host city planners and key documents, which highlight striking discrepancies between media broadcasts and the internal communications between the IOC and host city governments. It focuses on the inside story of the urban and transport change process undergone by four cities (Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, and Athens) that staged the Olympics and forecasts London and Rio de Janeiro's urban trajectories. The final chapter advises cities on how to leverage the Olympic opportunity to advance their long-run urban strategic plans and interests while fulfilling the International Olympic Committee's fundamental requirements. This is a uniquely positioned look at why Olympic cities have --- or do not have --- the transport and urban legacies they had wished for. The book will be of interest to planners, government agencies and those involved in organising future Games.


Peer-reviewed Publications

Kassens-Noor, E., C. Gaffney, J. Messina and E. Phillips* (forthcoming 2017). Olympic transport legacies:  the case of Rio de Janeiro’s BRT System. Journal of Planning Education and Research

  • Since the IOC selected Rio de Janeiro to host the 2016 Olympic Games, large-scale transportation infrastructures have been transforming the city. We examine the transportation planning process and consequences of implementation in the run-up to the 2016 Olympic Games by triangulating qualitative and quantitative methods. We argue that due to the low cost, speed of implementation, best-practice knowledge, existing political coalitions, ease of land acquisition, and flexibility in planning, BRTs emerged as the dominant Olympic transport solution. We find that the transport planning process has undermined the public interest and placed the burdens of implementation disproportionally on the urban poor.

Kassens-Noor, E. and T. Fukushige* (online 2016). Olympic Technologies - Tokyo 2020 and beyond: the Urban Technology Metropolis. Journal of Urban Technology. DOI: 10.1080/10630732.2016.1157949

  • The Olympic Games bring tremendous impacts to host cities, yet little attention has been paid to the variety and novelty in urban technologies that are introduced through the mega-event vehicle. This paper argues that urban transformation associated with the Olympic Games increasingly spans the technological sphere. As a path-breaker the Olympic bid of Tokyo foreshadows a technological revolution that will make the capital of Japan the most advanced urban technology metropolis in the world. This is significant, as this pioneer for the city of the future may yield many valuable insights given the rapid implementation and acceleration of technological innovation proceeding into 2020. Consequently, lessons on how this technology may impact our society can be derived.

Kassens-Noor, E. (2016). From ephemeral planning to permanent urbanism: the beginnings of an urban planning theory on utopian mega-events and their heterotopian legacy. Urban Planning. Vol 1. Iss 1, pp. 41-54

  • Mega-events like the Olympic Games are powerful forces that shape cities. In the wake of mega-events, a variety of positive and negative legacies have remained in host cities. In order to bring some theoretical clarity to debates about legacy creation, I introduce the concepts of the mega-event utopia, dystopia and heterotopia. A mega-event utopia is ideal and imaginary urbanism embracing abstract concepts about economies, socio-political systems, spaces, and societies in the host during events.  The mega-event utopia (in contrast to other utopian visions other stakeholders may hold) is dictated by the desires of the mega-event owners irrespective of the realities in the event host. In short, a mega-event utopia is the perfect event host from the owner’s perspective.

  • Using the Olympic utopia as an example of a mega-event utopia, I theorize utopian visions around four urban traits: economy, image, infrastructures and society. Through the concept of the mega-event legacy utopia, I also provide some insight toward the operationalization of the four urban traits for a city’s economic development, local place marketing, urban development, and public participation.

  • Mega-event utopias are suggested as a theoretical model for the systematic transformation of their host cities. As large-scale events progress as ever more powerful transformers into this century, mega-event dystopias have emerged as negatives of these idealistic utopias. As hybrid post-event landscapes, mega-event heterotopias manifest the temporary mega-event utopia as legacy imprints into the long-term realities in hosting cities.

Kassens-Noor, E. and P. Kayal (2016). India’s new globalization strategy and its consequences for urban development: the impact of the 2010 Commonwealth Games on New Delhi’s transport system. International Planning Studies. Vol 21 Iss 1, pp. 34-49 doi: 10.1080/13563475.2015.1114448

  • Developing nations increasingly seek mega-events in the pursuit of globalization. India has recently renewed such aspirations by hosting the XIX Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010. The purpose of the paper is to assess Delhi’s urban transport development through a sporting mega-event as a globalization strategy for a developing country. Therefore, the authors comparatively analyze the transport plans pre-bid (2003) and transport legacies (2013). The authors argue that the alignment of the mega-event needs with Delhi’s urban master plan was partially fulfilled as many infrastructural projects were catalyzed. However, the Games also compelled the city to invest in developments that were required for the successful delivery of the Games. This paper contributes to the discussion on how mega-events influence urban planning and points out significant challenges and opportunities developing cities face when preparing for a sporting mega-event.

Kassens-Noor, E. (2016). Flip, move, tweet: a blended course design for different learning environments in urban planning, sustainability, and climate change university courses. International Journal for the Scholarship of Technology Enhanced Learning. Vol 1 Iss 1. pp. 83-99 http://ejournals.library.gatech.edu/ijsotel/index.php/ijsotel/article/view/7 (open access)

  • While much academic work has focused on how a singular teaching practice impacts student engagement and learning, synergies among innovative teaching practices have largely been ignored by the academic community. I seek to address this gap by proposing a new blended course design and report on the impact three innovative teaching practices (flipped class, movement, and twitter) combined had on ten undergraduate students taking an urban planning course focused on sustainability and climate resilience. I explore advantages and disadvantages of this course design through pre- and post-diagnostics, audio and video recordings, tweets, assignments, student feedback, and personal reflection. Because students adapt to their learning environments and showed learning gains especially in environments they had not been taught in before, I suggest that students need to learn in the places they ultimately work.

Kassens-Noor, E., B. Maharaj, S. Müller, L. Huntoon and M. Wilson (2015). Towards a Mega-Event Legacy Framework. Leisure Studies, 1-7.  

doi: 10.1080/02614367.2015.1035316


  • The legacy created in pursuit of a mega-event, like the Olympic Games,  FIFA World Cup,  World’s Fair or the Hajj, can provide tremendous opportunities for the host to advance urban development. The challenge faced by cities is how to direct the public and private spending on desired legacies to support their pre-bid  urban agendas. To provide guidance for scholars and event planners interested in using events to further urban development agendas we present a framework for cataloguing the outcomes associated with mega-event planning.

Chandra, S. and E. Kassens-Noor, (2014). The Evolution and Diffusion of the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19 in India.  BMC Infectious Disease: 14:510 doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-510


  • Background

    The 1918-19 'Spanish' Influenza was the most devastating pandemic in recent history, with estimates of global mortality ranging from 20 to 50 million. The focal point of the pandemic was India, with an estimated death toll of between 10 and 20 million. We will characterize the pattern of spread, mortality, and evolution of the 1918 influenza across India using spatial or temporal data.


    This study estimates weekly deaths in 213 districts from nine provinces in India. We compute statistical measures of the severity, speed, and duration of the virulent autumn wave of the disease as it evolved and diffused throughout India. These estimates create a clear picture of the spread of the pandemic across India.


    Analysis of the timing and mortality patterns of the disease reveals a striking pattern of speed deceleration, reduction in peak-week mortality, a prolonging of the epidemic wave, and a decrease in overall virulence of the pandemic over time.


    The findings are consistent with a variety of possible causes, including the changing nature of the dominant viral strain and the timing and severity of the monsoon. The results significantly advance our knowledge of this devastating pandemic at its global focal point.

Chandra, S., E. Kassens-Noor, G. Kuljanin*, J. Vertalka* (2013). A Geographic Analysis of Population Density Thresholds in the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19.  International Journal of Health Geographics:12(9). doi:10.1186/1476-072X-12-9


  • This paper introduces a useful analytic tool to the health geographic literature. It illustrates an application of the tool to demonstrate that it can be useful for pandemic awareness and preparedness efforts. Specifically, it estimates a level of population density above which policies to socially distance, redistribute or quarantine populations are likely to be more effective than they are for areas with population densities that lie below the threshold.

Kassens-Noor, E. (2013). The Transport Legacy of the Olympic Games, 1992-2012. Journal of Urban Affairs  Vol 35 Iss 4, pp. 393-416
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9906.2012.00626.x
  • Legacy planning in preparation for the Olympic Games has significantly grown in importance for host cities and the IOC because of the wasteful investments for some previous Games. Since the late 1990’s, the IOC has actively sought to prevent such over-spending through a transfer of knowledge program, in which valuable lessons are passed from one host city to the next. This paper analyzes the transport legacies of the Olympic Games, using original archive material and interviews with key decision-makers in five cities. While previous research into the effects of the Olympic Games on host cities suggests that infrastructural legacies are place-specific, the main argument of this paper is that the transport legacies of the Olympic Games are much more uniform across the host cities. Even though the host cities’ transport systems were intrinsically different pre-Olympics, the author finds similar features of the Olympic Transport System, which were developed through the Transfer of Knowledge program, produced similar legacies. In explaining the creation of transport legacies through Olympically motivated drivers, the author suggests the Olympics might trigger similar transport developments in future host cities. Therefore, city planners can use Olympic transport features as powerful catalysts to accelerate their urban and transport plans.

U. Bob and E. Kassens-Noor (2012). An indicator framework to assess the legacy impacts of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. African Journal for Physical, Health Education, Recreation and Dance (AJPHERD) September 2012 (Supplement 1), pp. 12-21.
  • Assessing legacy impacts entails monitoring and evaluating the long-terms effects of mega-events which is a neglected area of research. Most researchers on mega-events focus on projections before and during the hosting of a mega-event. Yet, the hosting of mega- events is generally explained in relation to long-term and enduring impacts which justify the massive investments often associated with hosting mega-events. This is particularly relevant given the considerable investments required from public funds, especially in South Africa that is largely a developmental state with high transformational and developmental demands. The 2010 FIFA World Cup was viewed as a key opportunity to initiate and promote social, economic, environmental and sport legacies (amongst others) in South Africa. It is asserted that legacy evaluations provide a platform for an assessment of lessons derived from a systematic cost-benefit analysis of a mega-event. This article provides a critical examination of how legacy is conceptualised in relation to mega-events, and specifically in the context of South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It then highlights the key legacy impacts (both planned and unplanned) that are likely to be derived from the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Finally, the article suggests a legacy indicator framework for the medium and longer-tern assessment of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Assessing legacy impacts is critically important since the effects of mega-events are increasingly being questioned, specifically in relation to sustainability imperatives. Furthermore, examining long-term outcomes are central to informing future bidding and planning of mega-events.   

Kassens-Noor, E. (2012). Twitter as a teaching practice to enhance active and informal learning in higher education: the case of sustainable tweets. Journal of Active Learning in Higher Education 13(1), pp. 67-79

DOI: 10.1177/1469787411429190
  • With the rise of Web 2.0, a multitude of new possibilities on how to use these online technologies for active learning has intrigued researchers. While most instructors have used Twitter for in-class discussions, this study explores the teaching practice of Twitter as an active, informal, outside-of-class learning tool. Through a comparative experiment in a small classroom setting, this study asks whether the use of Twitter aids students in learning of a particular subject matter. And if so, in which learning contexts Twitter offers advantages over more traditional teaching methods. This exploratory study showed potential opportunities and pitfalls Twitter could bring to the e-learning community in higher education.


Kassens-Noor, E. (2011). Planning Against Hazards for a Resilient and Sustainable Community Through Adaptive Transportation Systems. Journal of Homeland Security. Edition: Catastrophes and Complex Systems: Transportation

  • This paper defines the role that transportation can and should play for resilient communities in hazard-prone regions. It lays out the demands and potential supply options in adapting land, marine, and air transportation systems while creating resilient and sustainable communities. It pays particular attention to the integration of adaptive and mitigative transport measures, so as to prevent future impacts of climate change.



Neal, Z., and E. Kassens-Noor (2011). The business passenger niche: Comparing legacy carriers and Southwest during a national recession. Journal of Air Transport Management 17, pp. 231-232 

  • We examine how legacy and low-cost air carriers’ roles in serving business passengers in the US changed during the global economic recession from 2007. Quarterly data is examined to test the impact of a recession on the air travel behavior. We find that since 2007 business passengers represent a declining proportion of legacy carriers’ passenger volume, while they  epresent an increasing proportion of Southwest’s passengers. This trend suggests that Southwest’s market niche has shifted,  nd that the airline now plays a role similar to that of legacy  carriers.



Kassens-Noor, E. (2010). Sustaining the Momentum - the Olympics as potential Catalysts for enhancing Urban Transport. Transportation Research Record 2187, pp. 106-113
  • Positive urban impacts of the Olympic Games are often publicized but seldom evaluated empirically. Through the analysis of Olympic transport plans and expert interviews, this paper tests whether transport measures implemented during the Games were sustained in four host cities. The paper consists of three main parts. The first provides an overview of the challenges the Olympics impose on urban transport systems, primarily in terms of passenger transport. The second part reviews the long-term transport goals each city had targeted to achieve through the Olympics. Furthermore, it categorizes the transport measures implemented to handle the Olympic peak demand. The third part analyzes comparatively how the cities changed and in particular, which of the measures that supported the passenger operations have been sustained. Despite the fact that planners, governments, and residents desire to use the Olympic Games as a catalyst for lasting transport improvements, actual implementations were mainly of temporary nature. Only in a few instances, did Olympic efforts lead to lasting benefits for urban transport systems. The paper suggests a long-term, comprehensive planning strategy for using the Olympics as a catalyst for change in order to sustain the momentum the Games give to a host city.
Kassens-Noor, E. (2010). Peak Demands in Transport Systems - an Agenda for Research. Paper ID G6-01541. In Selected Proceedings of the 12th World Conference on Transport Research Society, ISBN 978-989-96986-1-1 (Editors: J. Viegas and R. Macário), Lisbon, Portugal, July 11-15.
  • This paper is a pioneering effort in developing key concepts for peak demand transport. Peak demands in transport systems occur during mega-events, e.g. the Olympic Games or mass evacuations, which strain the pre-existing transport capacity far beyond its maximum limit. The author defines mega-events in the transport context as follows: a transport mega-event is an extraordinary temporary combination of mass transport flows, requiring the involvement and coordination of all available metropolitan transport modes with different service levels and requiring temporary and long-term modifications to the transport system. Peak demands as analyzed in this paper go far beyond the regular congestion levels, and constitute exceptional levels of passenger demand. Transport agencies have to extensively plan for those peak demands, for which many agencies start their planning efforts from scratch or draw on common practices within the same mega-event group (e.g. evacuations). This paper intends to jumpstart thinking outside the box by cross-comparing transport practices for various mega-events that have relatively little in common. The contribution of this paper is to identify six common key concepts among those different mega-events. Based on these finding the author concludes that these concepts are indeed applicable to any transport mega-event and suggests further inquiry into the field of peak demand transport planning.
Odoni A., M. Stamatopoulos, E. Kassens, I. Metsovitis (2009). Preparing an Airport for the Olympic Games: Athens. Journal of Infrastructure Systems, 15 (1), pp. 50-59.
DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)1076-0342(2009)15:1(50)
  • Athens International Airport served as the principal gateway to Greece for athletes and the Olympic Family and for the general public during the Olympic Games of 2004. The airport’s performance during the Games was universally praised. This paper describes many facets of the extensive preparations for the event and of actual operations during the event. These include: principal strategic decisions, coordination with the major stakeholders, air traffic and passenger forecasts, new facilities and upgrading or modifications to existing ones, air traffic slot management, planning for and modeling of the flows of members of the Olympic Family through the airport, and some initiatives with respect to organizational structure, security, and contingency planning. The paper also outlines some more general “lessons” for airports that will handle events of similar magnitude and visibility in the future.
Book Chapters

Kassens-Noor, E. (under contract). Olympic Transport. In J. Gold and M. Gold (eds) Olympic Cities: City Agendas, Planning, and the World’s Games, 1896 - 2016 (3rd). Oxford: Routledge.  

Kassens-Noor, E. (2015). Managing Transport during the World Cup. In S. Frawley and D. Adair (eds) Managing the Olympic Games. Sydney: Palgrave Macmillan

Kassens-Noor, E. (2015). The legacy of the 2004 Olympics for Athens’ transport system. In R. Holt and D. Ruta (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Sport and Legacy: Meeting the Challenge of Major Sports Events. Oxford: Routledge http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415675819/

Kassens-Noor, E. (2013). Managing Transport during the Olympic Games. In S. Frawley and D. Adair (eds) Managing the Olympics. Sydney: Palgrave Macmillan



Smith, T., J. Molloy, E. Kassens-Noor,  W. Li and M. Colunga (2013). Developing an Interdisciplinary Heuristic for Multidisciplinary Faculty Writing Groups. In A. E. Geller and M. Eodice (eds) Working with Faculty Writers.  Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press  


Editorial Services
Kassens-Noor, E. series editor 
"Mega Event Planning"
Palgrave MacMillan

Kassens-Noor, E. guest editor for sustainability (2013)
"Sustainable Mega-Events"

Kassens, E.editor in chief (Summer 2009) 
“Sustainable Transportation: An International Perspective” Projections Vol. 9
Planning Journal of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT, USA


Upcoming Presentations

ACSP 2016 

Selected Past Presentations

Kassens-Noor, E., Panelist on Town Hall Discussion  Climate & Sports: Reducing the Carbon Impacts of Large Sports Events  Green Sports Alliance, Chicago, June 29- July 1, 2015

Kassens-Noor, E. and P. Kayal. India's new globalization strategy and its consequences for urban development: the impact of the 2010 Commonwealth Games on Delhi's transport system. paper presented at the Association of American Geographers. Chicago, April 21-25, 2015

Kassens-Noor, E., Gaffney, C., Messina, J., Phillips, E. The prospect of Olympic Transport Legacies: the case of Rio de Janeiro’s BRT system. Paper presented at the Urban Affairs Association. Miami, April 8-11, 2015

Kassens-Noor, E. and J. Ladd. The ethics of mega events presentation at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, Oct  30- Nov 2, 2014

Kassens-Noor, E.  The flipping, moving and tweeting classroom  presentation at The Teaching Professor Conference. Boston, May  31- June 2, 2014

Kassens-Noor, E.  MEU paper presented at the Urban Affairs Association. San Francisco, USA, April 3- 6, 2013

Kassens-Noor, E. and P. Brushaber  Michigan's Highspeed rail paper presented at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning Annual Conference. Cincinnati, USA, November 1-4, 2012.

Kassens-Noor, E.  The Transport Legacy of the Olympic Games. 32nd International Geographical Congress. Cologne, Germany, August 26-30, 2012.

Session Co-chair: "Mega events, globalization and urban development I"
     (UDC 10-01 )

Lang S., P. Crawford, K. Millenbah, M. Orth, E. Kassens-Noor, E. Drake Academic Cultures: Differences In Evaluating Teaching Excellence, American Society for Horticultural Science 2012 Annual Conference, Miami, USA, July 30-August 4, 2012

Crawford P., S. Lang, K. Millenbah, M. Orth, E. Kassens-Noor, E. Drake Evaluating Teaching Excellence across Academic Cultures. Poster presented at the MSU SoTL Symposium, 2011. 

Vertalka J. and E. Kassens-Noor The resilience of airports: adaptation planning against hazards and for potential disaster recovery. paper presented at the Urban Affairs Association. New Orleans, USA, March 16- 19, 2011. 

Kassens-Noor, E. (Invited Panelist) Planning Against Hazards for a Resilient and Sustainable Community Through Adaptive Transportation Systems. White Paper presented at the 2011 DHS Science Conference - Fifth Annual DHS Network Summit. Washington DC, USA, March 30-April 1, 2011. 

Kassens-Noor, E. The Urban Legacy of the Olympic Games paper presented at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning Annual Conference. Minnesota, USA, Oct. 7-10, 2010
Pre-organized session creator: „Mega Events: Olympics, World Cups and World Fairs“
Kassens-Noor, E. Peak Demands in Transport Systems - an Agenda for Research presented at the "World Conference of Transport Research" Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, 2010
Session chair: G 6.3
Kassens, E. Changing cities through Mega Events presented at the “Urban Affairs” Conference in Honolulu, USA, 2010
Moderator for session: Reassessing Big Projects and Events
Kassens, E. Sustaining the Momentum: the Olympics as potential Catalysts for enhancing Urban Transport presented at the “Transport Research Board” Conference in Washington D.C., USA, 2010 

Kassens, E. Sustaining the Momentum: the Olympics as potential Catalysts for enhancing Urban Transport presented at the “Sport Mega-events and their Legacies” Conference in Capetown, South Africa, 2009


Kassens, E. Lesson’s learned from transportation planning for the Olympics – are the innovative short-term measures applicable to metropolitan transport systems? presented at ACSP Conference, Crystal City, USA 2009


Kassens, E. Sustaining the Momentum: mega events as catalysts presented at ACSP conference, Chicago, USA 2008


Kassens, E. Transportation Planning for Sustainable Urban Transport Development through Mega-Events presented at ACSP conference, Milwaukee, USA 2007


Kassens, E. Transport Planning for Mega-Events: Practices of the Past invited speaker to the first Cities for Mobility Conference, Stuttgart, Germany 2007


Kassens, E. Athens Olympic Transport Modelling presented at The First Transportation Engineering Research Symposium (MAITE), Cambridge, USA 2005