Urban Fold

An Olympic Gamble for Community Revitalization

East London is the home of the city's poorest and most overlooked neighborhoods. It's also home to the site of the 2012 Summer Olympics, which officials hope will revive the struggling area.

The games will cost a total of roughly £9.3-billion ($14.8 billion USD), which some locals say is a big investment that might not end up improving the long-term success of the city's East End.

"The poverty is made all the more jarring by geography. Just to the west lies a pocket of wealth – the shiny towers of Canary Wharf, stuffed with investment banks, BMWs and men in Brioni suits. Stratford City could be on a different planet.

But turn the corner, and there it is – Europe's biggest urban mall. Called Westfield Stratford City, the £1.45-billion, U.S.-style monument to shopping is nearing completion and will cover 1.9 million square feet. That's just the start, for the mall will be the gateway to the 2012 Olympic Games. The Olympic stadium, with 80,000 seats, is 90 per cent finished. The other structures, from the Calgary Saddledome-style velodrome to the aquatic centre, which looks like a great white stingray, are going up quickly. With 23 months to go before the opening ceremonies, the site's 10,000 workers are at the peak of what is known as 'the big build.'"

Full Story: London takes gamble on Olympics to revitalize community


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