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  • Event Takeover? The Commercialisation of London’s Parks

    Andrew Smith

    Chapter from the book: Smith A. & Graham A. 2019. Destination London: The Expansion of the Visitor Economy.


    This chapter focuses on the ways London’s parks have been transformed into event venues, integrating them into the visitor economy. The chapter begins with an overview of park commercialisation which is used to contextualise the subsequent discussion London’s parks’ exploitation as event venues. In several instances, the introduction of commercial events into London’s parks has been strongly resisted by local users. These disputes came to a head in 2016 when campaign groups launched legal actions against large-scale events in Battersea Park and Finsbury Park. These cases are discussed here alongside other insightful examples where local authorities have prioritised events as a way to help pay for parks. The discussion is derived from a series of research exercises undertaken in the summer of 2016 including interviews with key stakeholders, extensive observation exercises before, during and after events, and online communication with park users.The chapter concludes that London’s parks should continue to stage well managed events, but there is a need to protect parks from over-exploitation and over commercialisation. Limiting the amount of park space and the amount of days that major events are allowed to occupy seems justified, and there is also a need for more involvement from park users in decision making and greater transparency about how income from events is spent.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Smith, A. 2019. Event Takeover? The Commercialisation of London’s Parks. In: Smith A. & Graham A (eds.), Destination London. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book35.j

    This chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives 4.0 license. Copyright is retained by the author(s)

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    Published on May 21, 2019