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.
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
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.
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.”
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 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
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.
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.