Can the Olympics Be Sustainable?


The Tokyo Olympics are underway—in the middle of a pandemic, with the Delta Variant of SARS COV-2 doing the rounds. But some analysts and activists have pointed out that the pandemic isn’t the only problem with the Games. Tokyo wanted to host the most sustainable Olympics yet. The organizers promised recycled cardboard beds in the athlete’s village, and super green timber stadiums. But, according to a study published by researchers from the University of Lausanne in the journal Nature earlier this year, they’ve fallen well below the mark. Can one have a sustainable Olympics? In this episode, we try to answer that question.

First, how does Los Angeles plan to avoid Tokyo’s fate when it hosts the games in 2028? We speak with Brence Culp, the chief impact officer for the 2028 Games in Los Angeles, and Nurit Katz, UCLA’s Chief sustainability Officer, to learn more about the sustainability vision for LA28.

Next up, the afterlife of stadiums. Remember that sustainability analysis of the Olympic Games? Well, the researchers identified Nine Factors that determine the sustainability of the Games. Their number one factor? Long-term viability of Olympic infrastructure. The Velodrome, originally designed for the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, was recently converted into the Biodome, an enormous zoo-cum-terrarium. We speak with Yves Paris, Biodome director, and Rami Bebawi, cofounding partner at KANVA, to learn more about the project.


–      An evaluation of the sustainability of the Olympic Games. Nat Sustain (2021):

–      LA28:

–      IOC Sustainability Strategy:

–      Montreal Biodome:

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Deep Green is a production of SANDOW Design Group.


Avi Rajagopal

Avinash Rajagopal is the editor in chief of Metropolis, an award-winning architecture and design publication. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at events related

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