Martin Müller

2015 Visiting Research Fellow

Fellows Cosmopolis Centre for Urban Research Planning & Development Politics & Policy

University of Zurich, Switzerland / The mega-event syndrome: why so much goes wrong in mega-event planning – and what to do about it / From March to June 2015

Martin Müller is Swiss National Foundation Professor and head of the Space & Organization unit of the Department of Geography at the University of Zurich. He was previously assistant professor at the Universität St. Gallen, completed his PhD at the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main and was a visiting fellow at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and the University of Oxford.

A human geographer, Martin Müller works on the planning, organisation and impacts of mega-events such as the Olympic Games and the Football World Cup. He has done much work in Russia, where he has conducted research on the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games and the 2018 World Cup. His conceptual interests revolve around actor-network theory, mobilities and the socio-material, translocal composition of the world. He is a commentator in Neue Zürcher Zeitung and DIE ZEIT and his research has received coverage in media such as the New York Times, ABC, Newsweek, Der Spiegel, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Le Temps.

During his 2015 visiting fellowship at the Brussels Centre for Urban Studies, Martin Müller worked on a book manuscript on the ‘mega-event syndrome’. The key idea is that the way in which mega-events are currently planned and governed does not allow them to become what they are often meant to be: catalysts of efficient and equitable urban development. What happens is quite the opposite: they tend to impose their own priorities on urban planning, often derailing existing development planning and draining funds from other projects.