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UIC - London - Regeneration

The London Olympics of 2012 was a fantastic sporting spectacle and put the spotlight of the World on our capital city.  Part of the aims of the Olympics was to completely transform an area of East London that is lagging behind the rest, East London.  The idea was to leave a lasting legacy or impact not just for sport but for the urban area in the East of London.

Location of Olympic Park

The London 2012 Olympic Legacy was a plan to make sure that the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games had LONG TERM BENEFITS.
This legacy was to cover 4 main areas;
1. Economic – supporting new jobs and skills, encouraging trade, inward investment and tourism
2. Sports – continuing elite success, development of more sports facilities and encouraging participation in schools sports and wider
3. Social and volunteering – inspiring others to volunteer and encouraging social change
4. Regeneration – reuse of venues, new homes, and improved transportation

The key for this unit is Legacy point 4 – urban regeneration.  Urban Regeneration is the whole sale improvement of the buildings and infrastructure of an area.  The Olympic athletes village was converted to a new housing area in London.

The areas hosting the Olympics like Stratford and nearby Tower Hamlets were in dire need of regeneration as they had;
• a lot of abandoned old industrial sites,
• low achievement at school in  terms of GCSE points score
• industrial wastelands,
• higher than average unemployment than the rest of London and
• higher deprivation and poverty for the people that lived there
• Lower household incomes then the London average as shown on the map below

London Income

  Pros Cons

The athletes’ village has been relaunched as a housing estate called the East Village, the rooms have had kitchens added and walls knocked through. Almost half of these 2,818 new homes (40%) will be affordable. Eventually the whole Olympic Parkland will become five new neighbourhoods housing 8,000 people.

The Olympics has helped schools in the area – there was a shortage of spaces but a new school opened in the grounds of the park. Chobham Academy will cover all levels of education.

The aquatics centre now uses its 50m pools as facilities for the community and schools, as well as elite athletes.

Unemployment OVERALL fell across London during the Olympic period

Anne Power at the London School of Economics said “The ‘affordable rents’ for the 2,800 new homes will be unaffordable to Newham’s poorest households.”
Rushanara Ali, MP in the Olympic borough of Tower Hamlets, said: “The impact of the infrastructure investment has been really fantastic... But – and there’s a big but – in my borough unemployment actually went up during the Olympics.”

During the construction of the Olympics, very few jobs were created for local people. There are still high levels of unemployment in the borough and it was a missed opportunity to train people up for work. Tower Hamlets got very little out of the Olympics. (Rushanara Ali, MP)
Many people in the boroughs surrounding the Olympic Park remain in poverty

Properties for poorer people had to be demolished to make way for the site, 450 Housing Association flats were torn down for example.


Stratford got a Tube station to help connect the area to the rest of London - Stratford is now second only to King’s Cross as the most connected part of London.

The infrastructure has been improved. As well as two Underground lines, a high-speed “javelin” train to King’s Cross and the Docklands Light Railway, it may soon be a stop-off for the Eurostar to Paris.

The Olympics brought more than £9bn of investment to east London, much of which went into transport. Lloyds TSB estimated that the Olympics will generate £10 billion in extra income for the UK economy
ALL of the Olympic venues have been sold. The final building to be sold off was the £300m media centre, which will now primarily house Infinity – a data company who want to store information for large corporations.

The Olympic stadium is estimated to have cost £701 million pounds, almost 3 times the original estimate (source).  This angered many local people.

The total bill for the Olympics was £8.77 billion of tax payer’s money. That was £5billion over budget.

Existing businesses had to move, including H. Forman and Sons, a salmon-smoking factory with 50 employees
Rents and property prices have gone up as a result of the Games
Environmentally Many of the grounds in the Olympic Park have been kept as parkland and are open to the public for use as a picnicking and play area. New green spaces and wildlife habitats were created, including ponds, woodlands, and artificial otter holes.
The stadiums were made of at least 25% recycled materials

The River Lea that runs through the Olympic Park was improved as has the quality of its water.  Green areas were placed along the banks of the river.

The urban wasteland of the Lower Lea Valley was cleaned up, with soil being cleaned on site.

The Olympic Site was built largely on 560 acres of brownfield land, property that had been neglected, unused, and contaminated.

Researchers helped choose sustainable & biodiverse vegetation suited to an urban environment, including 4,000 trees, 74,000 plants and 60,000 bulbs and 300,000 wetland plants

Much wildlife had to be relocated; 4,000 smooth newts, 100 toads and 300 common lizards as well as fish including pikes and eels were moved by the Olympic Delivery Authority.

Many of the materials for the stadiums and the Olympic Park came from overseas

The games produced 3.3 million tons of CO2

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