Walking Methodologies, Digital Platforms and the Interrogation of Olympic Spaces: The ‘#RioZones-Approach’

Mike Duignan, David McGillivray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
69 Downloads (Pure)


Mega-sport events (MSEs) target, sequestrate and territorialise a ‘host’ (city – or nation) to exist, sustain themselves, survive and deliver on organisational objectives. Yet, little systematic and empirical evidence examines such urban processes, specifically in real-time during ‘live staging’ periods, including related implications for host community inclusion (and exclusion). In this article, we present the #RioZones project; a series of physical-embodied and digitally enabled primary data collection methods focused around embodied walking and participatory digital methods aimed at: i) providing a deeper – and disruptive - interrogation of the spatial, social and economic implications of MSE organisation, ii) developing creative ways to share empirical insights via microblogging, vlogging, media and public engagement platforms, and iii) bringing together academic, industry, and policy stakeholders to debate and influence change. Embedded physically and digitally (albeit temporarily) into Rio’s Olympic city, we refer to this strategically planned amalgam of methods as the ‘#RioZones-Approach’. Our findings reveal that utilising a set of post-positivist methods and approaches can be highly effective for creating new lines of (disruptive) inquiry and qualitative knowledge insights, currently latent in this field of analysis, and in related critical tourism and event studies). Additionally, we illustrate how projects with a longitudinal ethos present a unique opportunity to maintain longer-term scrutiny on spatial-urban processes and involve key stakeholders to critique contested MSE legacies. Our article provides a detailed, but single snapshot into the life of an ever evolving, live and stakeholder engaged research project. In terms of significance and contribution, we argue that #RioZones – and the #RioZones-Approach - presents an ideal platform to bring together new, existing, creative and disruptive research projects striving to offer a deeper level of analysis and interrogation toward the study and intersection of events, urban space, and host community inclusion and exclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-295
Number of pages21
JournalTourism Geographies
Issue number1-2
Early online date30 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • #RioZones-Approach
  • digital platforms
  • host community inclusion
  • Rio 2016 Olympic Games
  • spatial-urban processes
  • Walking methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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