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Regional Economics


On 23rd July 2014, the twentieth commonwealth games will begin in Glasgow and mark the success of eleven days of world class sporting achievement. Glasgow 2014 provides a unique opportunity to model the city and an opportunity to convert Glasgow environmentally, economically and socially healthy. Glasgow 2014 is less than two years away, planning and implementation of all those activities overlooked in the past events will help to maximize and secure the advantages from this one time life opportunity. Glasgow 2014 will help attain a healthier and more vibrant city with citizens realizing and enjoying the sports benefits and the longer, wider term social, cultural and economic and environmental benefits, which Glasgow 2014 will deliver.

Working hand in hand across the city will leave a lasting impact for all of the Glasgow’s citizens, which will go far beyond the eleven day sports event. With close knit coordination with the Scottish Government, Legacy Frameworks of Glasgow 2014 sets out to achieve the vision and the outcomes that Glasgow 2014 will deliver during and after the event. The effects of significant social and economic progress have started surfacing that sets strategic direction of legacy frameworks up to 2019. There are six legacy themes, which reflects people’ aspirations from the CW games, and to help shape the direction of activities going forward. Through Glasgow 2014, the aim is to make Glasgow more prosperous; with an enhanced global outlook and image; greener; and more accessible (Glasgow 2014).


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1. What is Legacy?

Glasgow’s 2014 legacy planning faces numerous challenges while transforming the event into its final shape: namely, how to deliver legacy aspirations of the 2014 bid in the face of greater pressure for delivering a spectacular event. The term legacy is a set of positive results that arise for Glasgow from hosting a significant event. Planning for legacy demands a vision of Glasgow aims to accomplish which describes how leverage of such opportunities will be possible to meet these goals. In essence, legacy will look like.

1. Maximum sustainable gains created by a Mega Sport event;

2. Deliver maximum benefits before, during and after the mega event for all communities and stakeholders.

Much, of the literature believes that effects are more tangible or hard from those that are less tangible or soft. Hard benefits include the effect on the housing market, business and infrastructure investment and labor market. Soft benefits incorporate civic pride, enhanced image, community involvement at local decision making level and sports participation. Significantly, both soft and hard legacy effects improve health and wellness of citizens. Despite the collection of potential effects, unfortunately, there is an absence of evidence for the most of the desired effects. Further, there is again a lack of evidence for assigning any effects to the event itself instead of other trends. In this aspect, despite substantial information on previous sporting events, powerful academic research of the legacy of such sporting events is surprisingly rare. The most relevant reasons observed for the insufficient high quality legacy research of such events are inadequate comparison groups, and a lack of financing to capture long term effects (Searle 2002).

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Despite these above limitations, logical themes emerge that can acquaint decision makers regarding the legacy effects observed in host cities, in the past. They are as under:

1. Health and well being impacts;

2. Sports development impacts;

3. Economic impacts;

4. Socio cultural impacts;

5. Impacts of tourism on a host city;

6. Impacts on security and safety;

7. Infrastructural impacts.

2. Health and Wellbeing Legacy Impacts

A sports event development legacy is the most positive result of a mega sporting event. There is a key challenge for Glasgow to assure that the substantial effects of the 2014 CW event on health and mental wellbeing are enhanced and identified. It is worthy to observe that the London 2012 games impact assessment showed the intangible advantages such as enhancing national pride, and motivating children to become more active players have the significant appeal to local citizens. The health and wellbeing aspirations of the Glasgow Commonwealth 2014 games bid are appreciable. The host city file states the following; the investment will contribute to the prime objectives of upgrading the health of citizens especially around physical activities and the prevention from obesity. This, in turn, will provide overall levels of wellbeing and mental health. The health and wellbeing benefits, however, as an outcome of CW games are difficult to trace and researched. None of the previous host country so far demonstrates a substantial, positive health effect as an outcome of a significant sporting event. There also exist key public health challenges ahead that may impact the city’s likelihood of accomplishing a health and wellbeing legacy, as an outcome of 2014 event. You Gov Poll (2007) held in the UK, in terms of the citizen motivation, to become more physically active observed that 62% of residents would not be motivated to do more exercise even their life depends on it (Buroni 2004).

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Studies show that thirteen million or one in three English adults suffer from obesity. Indeed, planners for London Olympics recognized that people are increasing in size and designed seats that were 47cm to 50cm wider. In Scotland, levels of obesity are the second highest among the developed economies. Within Glasgow itself, overall people live longer; however, the city still demonstrates significant disparities in health.

3. Other Economic Benefits

What is the cause of such disparities in society? The poor health and illness can be genetic and others the outcome of individual life style, the evidence demonstrates that some social groups have an inclination to much higher rates of disease, death and illness than others. It is now largely recognized that a range of socio economic factors also determines the health of people, and the widest scope for improving people’s health lies outside the control of the authorities. These determinants include housing, transport, employment, education, environment, leisure and cultural activities and all these factors finally contribute to prosperity and health and wellness of citizens. Significantly, determinants can impact each other. For example, employment status affects the suitability and quality of housing, which in turns affected by access to transport and education (Dahlgren 1991).

The causes of social isolation and loneliness are the quality of the environment, income, and mobility. Education, social networks and income further connects to the adequacy of diet and levels of exercise and also vulnerability to abuse. These factors are the social determinants of health. The understanding of how health can be damaged and improved by such factors is the social model of health, which will emerge with the hosting of Glasgow 2014 event.

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In this paper, a model informs the recommendations of Health Impact Assessment. Therefore, the health in HIA does not simply refer to physical health but also prosperity, social well being and economic health. A change to the socio economic structure on the scale of the CW games is going to impact the above listed factors. It points out that these in turn will most likely influence health. Therefore, it is critical that a legacy plan designed early in the planning process of Glasgow 2014 mega event reflects the need of communities, objectives to reduce inequalities, establish goals and participation of all key stakeholders. This legacy requires full integration, and equal weighting, across all stages of planning for the delivery of the games. HIA tools provide assistance to all policy makers and contribute to improving the health of citizens and reducing health inequalities. Moreover, they are a way of equipping citizens both outside and inside the health service with the means of evaluating the health effects of their decisions. The progress on the CW 2014 is proceeding as part of a council commitment to implement HIA tools in designing its policies and plans (Knock 2008).

4. Approach and Methodologies and their Strengths and Weaknesses

Besides much environmental strength, a prime objective of Commonwealth games strategy and frameworks is to change the status of socio economic regeneration of Glasgow by bringing new housing, industry, business and recreational facilities.

Undoubtedly development on this scale will come with an environment impact. A significant aim of this strategic environment assessment (SEA) is to offer impartial, transparent evidence on the scale and magnitude of this effect to help balance objectives for socio economic growth with those for environment protection. Within the limitations of the constraints explained above, a wider suite of mitigation recommendations, to minimize the potential negative impacts of the Glasgow 2014 games have come out (Dahlgren 1991).

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A significant example of this issue in the strategic environment assessment of the Commonwealth Games strategy is consideration of green work.  Different people can consider green network in different terms. What should be agreed in regional, local and national level planning policy is that an efficient, green network must support several objectives including wellness and improvement in health, biodiversity, stronger communities and environmental enhancement. The prime issues for the commonwealth games strategy to address provisions of green network include healthy routes and access, biodiversity protection and enhancement/habitat networks, and mitigation and climate change adoption. For the sake, of argumentation, the majority of green network information composes of under the flora and fauna, biodiversity. Additional information composes under topics, specifically population and human health. The analysis of CG strategic framework clarifies that sustainability and environmental considerations play a significant role in its development. This also reflects in a range of significant environmental strengths which are potential to all or some parts of the strategy. Some aspects of the strategy are less strong as regard to possible environmentally issues (Brown 2004).

In a nutshell, there are numerous environmental opportunities to be considered which ongoing the developments of other factors of the commonwealth games strategy must have consideration.

Informed by such these opportunities the strategic environmental assessment helps to promote this process by developing a wide range of suggestions aiming specifically for improving strategic environmental benefits, which may be obtained from the implementation of post and pre games provisions. The categorization of these strengths is on the basis of if they are project focused or strategic and outlined in further detail. By definition, on strategic issues the aim of a strategy must be to direct and inform the approach adopted to take initiatives that occupy positions at the lower level in the hierarchy of programs, projects and plans. In effect, such initiatives of lower level should be informed by policies and objectives that unite and balance across a wider range of issues at the strategy level (Hanlon 2006).

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Such approach should incorporate the development of properly defined environmental policies and objectives. Considering the scale both in terms of scope and budget, Glasgow 2014 raises a key opportunity to provide a wide range of strategic environmental benefits, especially in the Glasgow area. Environmental benefits include games driven environmental outcomes, which would not be accomplished through the ongoing delivery of the existing projects, programs and plans alone. In spite of this, some of the environmental strengths of strategy, rather than additional environmental benefits, are more similar to environmentally focused approaches to development. It is significant to remember that a key strength of strategy is to uphold regeneration, and while it delivers additional environmental advantages, it will also cause a massive environmental effect. Where possible, the magnitude and scale of the Glasgow 2014 environmental effect should be minimized through the carefully considering alternatives and development of correct mitigation and measures Greater Glasgow 2010).

Key objectives of the strategic environmental assessment in this context are twofold. First, the SEA helps to highlight from an environmental point of view, the tensions underlying to deliver a substantial Mega event. Secondly, it aims to provide the transparent balancing of sustainability issues as and when they arise by providing with timely information on the event’s potential environmental effects to decision makers. The Commonwealth games strategic framework highlights the following environmental strengths.

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1. Large scale rectification of polluted land, especially in the east part of the city.

2. Redevelopment of derelict and vacant land in the east end of the city.

3. The location of venues supports a sustainable approach to transportation strategy by reducing the need to travel. This must contribute to lower emissions and green house gases during the Glasgow 2014 event. This represents a clear action between providing the suitable conditions in which participants can attain their maximum level of performance and environmental protection.

4. The approach of strategy to venue provisions including wide use of existing venues over new venues constitutes a highly sustainable approach. The significant benefits include smaller carbon footprint, lower carbon emissions and few construction related environment issues; and

5. This spatial strategy for Glasgow 2014 related developments focus on the east end of the city, where still deprivation and environmental issues are most critical, and where regeneration preferences are highest. 

In addition, the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network Partnership provides green network benefits for the Glasgow citizens as health improvement; stronger communities; biodiversity and environment enhancement; enterprise development and hence will contribute significant economic growth for Glasgow (Lee 2005).

Key Games Strategy weaknesses in this context include:

1. Inclusion of suitable provisions supporting landscape approach to Glasgow 2014 related green network enhancement and development.

2. Inclusions of all essential provisions and strategic guidance to assure that green network enhancements delivered as part of Commonwealth games strategic are not truly multifunctional in conjunction with the progress of improved access networks such as public open space and core paths; and

3. There can be a likelihood of neglecting Games strategy’s objectives implementation for strategic environmental improvements, while focusing on the east end and other part of the city where games related activity will take place.

5. Cost of Implementation CW Games

In November 2007, Scotland and Glasgow won the right to host the 2014 CW Games, the finale of more than four years of detailed planning. This bid attracted political support, promoted Scotland to the status of Commonwealth and brought backing of more than 1.70 million individuals and organizations.

For eleven days in the summer of the year 2014, athletes representing 75 countries will participate in 18 sports at world class venues. It is the biggest mega sports event that Scotland has ever hosted. The weighing of economic costs of hosting the CW Games prior to bidding was necessary. Public investment contribution, in the Glasgow 2014 event, is £299 million. Eighty per cent of the total budget contributed by Scottish Government and the remaining amount is from Glasgow City Council. There is the estimation that the Games will create 1500 jobs in Glasgow and a total of 2000 throughout Scotland (Kemp 2010).

In 2009, the Strategic Group sanctioned an increase to the delivery budget of £82 million to £460 million at 2008 prices. The organizing Committee restructured this to £530 million in 2010/11 to include inflation. The budget includes £96 million for contingency and controls are already in place to manage this. The strategic partners commit to deliver the Glasgow 2014 within £524 million Games budget. 

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There is underlying uncertainty in the budget expected at this stage as there is only expenditure of a small proportion of costs of the total budget. At August 2011, approximate expenditure was £45 million spent, and a further £45 million contracted, which makes 16 percent of the total budget.

Based on the experience of previous mega sport events, security is the prime risk of cost appreciation. The bid budget includes £26 million for security costs, which is equal to seven percent of the £373 million budget at 2007 prices. An independent review of the bid budget highlighted that all security costs should be incorporated, for example, security costs with regard to some transport activities. The £524 million Glasgow 2014 budget now incorporates £27 million for costs of security, but it is still not clear at this stage whether the proposed budget will cover all security costs related to the Glasgow 2014 Games.

At December 2011, there are new guidelines that instruct all Games venues to be delivered within the limits of approved budgets. The Hampden Park and Athletes’ Village, however, show a higher risk of accelerated costs. During the time of the bid for hosting the Glasgow 2014, the Athletes’ Village expected to cost £248 million at 2007 prices. The fact remained that the funding for Athletes’ Village would be available from private sources of funding. However, due to the sharp decline in the economy since the successful bid of CW Games and the subsequent financial crisis, the funding package has gone under significant changes and the public sector contribution is significantly higher (Glasgow 2014). 

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Other public bodies also incur costs related to the Glasgow 2014, which event or infrastructure budget does not cover and still these have not been quantified. The other costs incorporate the costs of planning emergency services. The sharp reduction in the public sector budget is pressurizing on existing services, and possibly increases the risk of these bodies, which may be incapable to contribute effectively to the Glasgow 2014 Games.


This report describes the findings and process of a health impact assessment of Glasgow 2014 CW Games. The processes have gained international recognition and authenticated by the WHO. This provides a high intensity of credibility to the recommendations suggested in this paper. Therefore, this HIA (health impact assessment) presents the powerful, available source of guidance for all stakeholders to assist them in achieving a positive legacy from the Glasgow 2014 sports event. The five priority themes that have emerged by hosting such an event are civic pride, economic growth and employment, image, infrastructure facilities such as transport and communication and housing and public space.

These top five priorities must form the essence of Glasgow’s approach to legacy. The outcome of London 2012 shows that a host city should plan such a legacy carefully and not simply relying on an assumption that, it will occur as an outcome of hosting such a Mega event. This should involve the following:

1. Ensuring the event maintains its momentum by connecting it to existing regeneration plans, which will continue after the games.

2. Implementing the experience acquired from the event for promoting new techniques of working and with more enhanced participation of communities.

3. Carefully observing the indicators of success with continuous checking whether things happen as planned.

The Commonwealth 2014 event itself cannot solve all of Glasgow’s health and economic challenges. This health impact assessment and the evidence show that such sport events can act a catalyst to help existing aims of health and economic reforms. They can support to focus determination and efforts on such challenges (Buroni 2004).



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