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Imagining Urban Futures Programme working paper

This working paper is part of the Imagining Urban Futures Programme working paper series

Trans-urban networks of learning, mega-events and policy tourism: The case of Manchester’s Commonwealth and Olympic Games projects

Ian Cook and Kevin Ward


Using Manchester’s Olympic and Commonwealth Games bids, this paper examines how and why city officials learn – acquire knowledge that is used to make change – from other places about mega-events and events-led regeneration. It reveals how Manchester’s public and private sector elites visited various cities to compare and to learn as part of their bid assembling activities. It also highlights how other cities’ representatives have visited Manchester to learn from its hosting of the 2002 Commonwealth Games bid. The paper seeks to build conceptually on existing work on the New Urban Politics (NUP), entrepreneurial urbanism and mega-events by addressing the links between cities competing with, and learning from, elsewhere. Drawing on the growing work on making urban policies mobile, it reveals the trans-urban underpinnings of entrepreneurial urbanism, making a case for taking seriously the circuits, networks and webs in and through which urban knowledge and learning is constituted and moved around.

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