Uses of Cultural Heritage at the Beijing Winter Olympic Games of 2022

The Olympic Games are part of the “mega-events” that are accelerators of urban transformations on the economic, infrastructural and societal levels.

Beijing - photo: Florence Graezer Bideau
Beijing 2022 Licensed Product Official Store – photo: Florence Graezer Bideau

This research questions the role of cultural heritage in the transformations related to Beijing 2022, within the urban perimeter in the historical districts of the Beijing core area (the famous “hutong”) ; in the industrial district of Shougang which hosts the headquarters of the Chinese Olympic Committee ; and in the mountains of Yanqing and Zhangjiakou-Chongli, where new leisure resorts are being developed.

The cultural heritage of the imperial era, as well as of the more recent industrial period, constitute milestones for contemporary urban planning and architectural projects. This urban development reflects the building of a post-industrial city alongside new types of residential, tourist, cultural, and leisure urban development.

This project first addresses changes in the behavior and lifestyles of individuals through new consumption practices in connection with culture, sport and public health policies promoted by the Chinese central authorities for the Olympic Games.

Second, this project contextualizes societal transformations induced by the new urban projects and practices within the framework of the new urban planning and economic restructuring of the City-Region of Beijing (2016-2035).

Source of financing: SNF

Research team: Florence Graezer Bideau, Thierry Theurillat (HEG-Arc Neuchâtel), Helena Roux and Mengke Zhang

Partners: Tsinghua University (Beijing), Politecnico di Torino (Italy), UCL (London), ETHZ (Zurich)


  • “Cultural Heritage, Leisure and Beijing Winter Olympic Games 2022”, Workshop on the Beijing Master Plan 2016-2035 at the Beijing Municipal Institute of the City Planning and Design, Beijing, RPC, October 28, 2019.
  • Virtual kick-off meeting with all partners, December 9, 2020.

PhD theses : Helena Roux and Mengke Zhang