Populous contracted to develop India’s Ahmedabad master plan ahead of 2036 Olympic bid

Planning authorities of India’s Ahmedabad have contracted top Olympics architecture and design firm Populous to prepare a strategic master plan for the proposed 2036 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Narendra Modi Stadium for cricket in Ahmedabad, India holds 132,000 and was engineered by Populous for opening in 2020 (Populous photo)
Narendra Modi Stadium for cricket in Ahmedabad, India holds 132,000 and was engineered by Populous for opening in 2020 (Populous photo)

Ahmedabad is being positioned as the likely Indian bidder to host the 2036 Games and the city’s Urban Development Authority (AUDA) has used the targeted event as inspiration for a 20 year masterplan that will have strategically located sport venue clusters.

According to Times of India Populous surveyors have already begun work mapping the eight significant areas in the region including including Motera, Koteshwar, Bhat, Sughad, Chandkheda, Zundal, and Koba.

“Over the past 15 days, the teams have carried out survey work, laying the foundation for the master plan,” a senior official from the city reportedly said.

“The strategic master plan takes into account the long-term development of the city, ensuring the optimal utilization of existing or temporary infrastructure. Transport, accommodation, security, media services, and other supporting facilities will also be key considerations in the plan, enhancing the overall experience for athletes, spectators, officials, and visitors,” they added.

Populous is one of the largest architectural design firms in the world with several international headquarters that have been responsible for dozens of professional sports venues across many sports including cricket, baseball, basketball, hockey, football and more. The company has partnered with several past Olympic organizing committees including Atlanta 1996, every Summer and Winter Olympic Games from 2000 to 2016 and the Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 Games. The company also helped develop plans to support bids for Chicago 2016 and Paris 2024.

According to Populous, the firm has laid the groundwork for 12 Olympic venues at 14 Olympic Games and for 12 Olympic bids – as well as venues at seven FIFA World Cups.

Projects included the London 2012 Games where Populous designed the master plan, main stadium and other venues in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Also on the list is work for the Sochi 2014 Winter Games including the Fisht Stadium and the master plan for the Olympic Park that contained six ice venues, a media centre, and the Olympic village.

According to the source, the firm’s Brisbane office has been contracted to help Ahmedabad – notable as the Olympics are being organized for that Australian city to host in 2032.

“The goal is to align with the [International Olympic Committee’s (IOC’s)] New Norm reforms, which promote affordability, flexibility, and sustainability for future hosts,” said the official.

The IOC’s Agenda 2020+5 framework encourages cities not to build new venues, but instead use facilities that already exist, where they exist – and to supplement them with temporary venues where possible. However, venues that have already been planned for construction are typically permitted.

Other nations expressing interest in hosting the 2036 edition are known to include South Korea, Indonesia, Germany, Qatar, Hungary, Turkey, Mexico, Egypt, Poland and U.K. In May, China was invited by IOC President Thomas Bach to join the race.

There is no set timetable for awarding the 2036 Games, but Bach has said the decision will belong to his successor after the President’s term ends in 2025. Prospective bidders participate in ongoing discussions until the IOC chooses a smaller number of candidates for targeted dialogue aimed at a final election.

India has never hosted the Olympic Games.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.

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