Tour de France 2014 and the local economics of Cambridge – ITV News interview with Michael B. Duignan (4 July, 2014)

Full ITV News interview (from 1:55 – 2:20) – see bottom of page for full ITV News article clip

Cambridge, Tour de France and local on-the-day economics

With the Grand Depart from Leeds, Yorkshire, across the hilltops over to the flat plains of Cambridge – the global image, spectacle and economic stimulus of the Tour de France aka ‘Le Tour’ graces the streets of Cambridge today. But what does Le Tour mean for the people, businesses and institutions of the city? Is it all just hype and spandex? Or are there some true, real, positive net economic benefits from hosting the Games? And can we even consider the ‘economic benefit’ as being a simplistic ‘return on economic investment and human time’? I believe not, and I explain why below in relation to the immediate on-the-day economic effects.

Simplistically, economic impact will attempt to understand how much visitor money flows in to the local economy as a result of hosting such a major event, and whether than money is from domestic visits or from (hopefully!) a sound turn out of European and international friends. The local economy hopes that visitors find their way in to every nook and cranny, down the querky city side streets, where retail; souveniers; lunch and cultural activities converge in to a spectacular Cambridge day out.

However, one of the key issues to consider here is the nature of ‘event tourists’. Evidence suggests, alongside my own empirical work from London 2012 and Sochi 2014 that sporting event tourists stay on ‘track’. Mind the pun. They behave differently from the standard cultural tourist. They watch, eat, and sleep (that is if they are not a 1 day visit) and rarely enjoy the cultural fruits that cities’, towns’ and communities’ have to offer. By and large we may find out they are not here for ‘Cambridge'; but rather the Cambridge Tour de France Stage 3 leg. You take out the 6-word suffix and we may find a trail of dedicated cycling enthusiasts bound for the next phase of the race.

Certainly, having spoken with a band of this demographic on the start line this morning between 8am – 12midday, this was certainly their ambition. After the starting pistol, goodbyes were met with a ‘must dash’, got to catch ‘em up. Was this portion of tourism staying to enjoy the delights of Cambridge? May be, possibly, a quick pint and a hot dog on Parkers Piece.. What we can however consider are the plans Cambridge planners put in place for the race and retaining tourism. The big screens, the kids play areas, plenty of food and drink options – quite clearly good plans were in place. However, I cannot help but consider the potential role of the necessary barriers and securisation of space will have on centralising tourism around Parkers Piece as opposed to dispersing it, and its dosh, across the city. Only research and time will tell as to how Cambridge’s Tour de France spectators navigated around the city, spent their money over an eclectic range of activities, and enhanced and acted as a stimulus for short-term economic return. This is therefore a to be continued…

However, although this post focuses around the on-the-day local economics of Le Tour – we have to consider event-related economic and tourism as a process. One that started much before the conception of this post. We must consider the planning and pre-event economic impact of hosting such an event. For example the global marketing and city showcasing Cambridge may have benefitted from as being chosen as Stage 3 host of Le Tour. We also have to consider the branding effects – the changing perceptions of Cambridge as a city not just blessed with ‘alma maters’ and heritage tourism, but as a future city of cycling. Will this drive a new demographic of tourist to Cambridge? Will this change behaviours of current residents, enhance and build up on the work of local cycling organisation ‘Sustrans’ to promote more environmentally friendly travel behaviour?

The post-event legacy effect is clearly complex.

However, the legacy is one that needs to be planned for – and in this respect Cambridge has done this successfully in a variety of ways – from building cycle routes to continuing the momentum of cycling in the city thanks for the Velo Fest and grants available through the council. Will the Tour de France 2014 lead to a positive economic, social and cycling legacy in the city over the next 1, 3, 5 or 10 years? Time will only tell… but the future certainly looks bright for Cambridge.

Interested further in this topic email:

Below, the ITV Anglia News clip (4 July, 2014)

The Digital Revolution and its impacts! Most succinct video I have seen in a while…

The digital revolution is fundamentally changing the world. This “Next Big Thing” video by management consulting firm Booz & Company highlights some of the fundamental changes digitization brings to governments, businesses, and consumers.

Tell your story @’Talk London’ forum: How were small local businesses affected by the London 2012 Games in their area?

A policy forum: How were small local businesses affected by the London 2012 Games in their area?

Tell your story via ‘Talk London’ forum: 

Just 20 minutes ago, ‘Talk London’ highlighted a great space to talk about the main issues of London 2012 – how has the Olympic Games affected the lives of local’s, Imagenamely local businesses across those Olympic Boroughs that hosted them, pre, during and post-Games. 

It is your story that inspires and illuminates the potential local legacies of the Games, and I ask and hope all those local businesses with an interest to share your stories. 

To share your views on how the Games affected them, for good and for bad. The Olympics posed a vast number of opportunities for local’s, and the ambitions for the Games were / could have been immensely beneficial for these local communities. My research so far suggests this, but it also highlights a community group that may not have benefited to the maximum potential (whether that was up to local planning –> national policy is up to you). Particularly those within close proximity to the Games ‘event zones’ – spaces with potentially high footfall, but difficulties of securitised space and barricades restricting tourism flows, alongside threats of rising rents via gentrification effects. 

I thank all those local businesses and planners that have been part of this study so far, and I hope to hear from many of you via the above ‘Talk London’. 



- @michaelbduignan

Guest lecture: Mega-events as part of urban strategies to revitalise cities – opportunity and local challenges (March, 2014)

Mega-events as part of urban strategies to revitalise cities – opportunities and local challenges

Guest talk: Michael B. Duignan, 14 March 2014, Lord Ashcroft International Business School, Anglia Ruskin University


Synopsis: where once up on a time cities were known for being a harbinger of decay (see Dicken’s play: ‘Oliver Twist), central global city districts represent prosperity and the epitome of successful urban economic development. The role of the mega-event has often played a facilitative role in this transition, offering opportunity for national and local economic growth via residual effects of gentrification, uses as a way of globally enhancing place image (aka ‘showcasing’) and opportunities for urban regeneration. But why are they such a powerful mechanism for change? Alongside their ability to absorb dynamic city agendas, they catalyse new and existing policies (aka ‘fast-tracking’) and provide neat justifications for pooling together a medley of both public and private funds to operationalise the grand plan. Coupled with strict deadlines for completion (e.g. 7 years for the Olympics from time of winning the bid) and the world’s eyes watching the move of these urban plans – these pressures provide the impetus needed ‘to get the job done’.

We must however be respectful of the local community challenges stimulated as part of delivering such a mega-event. I speak about the economic risks of gentrification and the difficulties this poses to the rental market (both residential and business), direct displacement effect to make way for Games stadia and urban infrastructural projects. And also highlight criticisms around poor local community consultation and understanding of local interests.

In light of the above we reflected on a range findings from previous (e.g. Barcelona, 1992) and forthcoming mega-events (e.g. Rio, 2016), however key insights were presented around the case of London 2012 – both opportunities, and such local challenges.

Workshop activity: class put together a key stakeholder analysis, as if they were applying to bid for the next Olympic Games. We highlighted the multitude of stakeholders interested/involved in hosting such a mega-event and explored some of the key reasons how and why they would be interested.

Link to online Prezi:

‘Becoming a Digital Scholar’ 2014 (blogging and infographics workshop)

Whether PhD, post-doc or established researcher, we all want to tell the world about what we are doing. If not, we fail to get external recognition, validity and critique on and for our work. Traditional, often dyadic forms of communication (i.e. academic journals and conferences) are the major routes for dissemination; however technology is simply changing the way we ‘get our research out there’ and develop our own academic profile/brand/presence. Becoming a digital researcher, and working more in the cloud is increasingly important for all the above; particularly in the social sciences.

In my workshop (taking place on 28 June, 2013 at the Research Student Conference at Anglia Ruskin University), we explore the simple technologies offering the 21st century researcher to do just this. The Prezi is written in a simple, accessible language and offers a step-change for all those willing to embrace digital technologies.

The Prezi is accessible here:

LAIBS, GRADSoc and Dr James Hayton ( presents: ‘Tips every PhD needs to know’

Michael Duignan from the Lord Ashcroft International Business School in Cambridge, and Ross Kemble President of Anglia Ruskin ‘Graduate Society’ invites Dr James Hayton (author of the to talk to our University PhD community.

With an audience of over 90 PhD’s in LAIBS’s Harvard Suite in Cambridge, James discussed the key principles PhD’s must consider in order to succeed at the doctoral process.

‘No beards necessary’! …Doing research and the life of a PhD

Doing Research and the Life of a PhD (2014)

Prezi available here:

About: amid stereotypes, preconceptions of the ‘normal’ PhD type (see Bart and The Simpson’s clip!), this Prezi delves in to what it is really like to be a ‘social scientist’ and alternative-non-dumbledore-esque young researcher. I explore what my research is all about, why I chose the academic route, the opportunities, the challenges and the characteristic required to start your early academic career off to a good start.