The 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics are remembered as a model of urban regeneration, especially in terms of their ability to change the spatial structure and image of the city (Garcia-Ramon and Albet, 2000; Marshall, 1996, 2000, 2004; Monclús, 2003). These outcomes were partly facilitated by the safe and secure staging of the event, which, while not considered to be “high risk” by the organizers, did present some potential challenges. At the global level, there was some thinking about possible reprisal attacks on competing nations in the Olympics for their involvement in the Gulf War (1990–1991) (Coaffee and Johnston, 2007:146). Domestically, there was some concern that the Olympics might be used as a platform for publicity by those seeking greater political autonomy from the centralist state based in Madrid. Notably, there had been long-standing tensions in the Basque Country, Catalonia and Galicia, where a strong sense of social and cultural identity had underpinned demands for greater political and economic independence (Conversi, 1997). The location of the Games in Barcelona, the most populous and powerful city within these potentially divergent autonomous regions, obviously had particular resonance. By analyzing the spatial organization of the four main Olympic venues across the city, the coordination between the multi-sectoral agencies involved in surveillance and their strategies to counter any potential threat of disruption, the argument taken in this chapter suggests that, in terms of security, the success of the event had more to do with political debate and the recognition that any disruption would be counterproductive to the respective causes. The principal threats to the tranquillity of the Games stemmed more from political and regional tensions within Spain than from externally generated instability. However, in terms of security, the success of the event was partly determined by the recognition by potential dissidents that disruption to such a globally high-profile event would be counterproductive to their causes.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Platform for Local Political Expression and Resolution (Barcelona 1992)
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number