London's Dubious Olympic Legacy

A year after the city staged an Olympic games intended to provide a legacy of revitalization for East London, Oliver Wainwright checks in on the progress. While the early results are 'not auspicious', he still finds reason for optimism.

"Presented as a benevolent behemoth of fast-track regeneration, the Games were supposed to leave behind a shiny new world of 12,000 homes and 10,000 jobs, set amid the rolling hills of the largest new park in Europe. It would be the miracle cure for the maligned East End, cleansing a swath of the Lower Lea valley – a site conveniently branded as a toxic dumping ground, at the nexus of London's poorest boroughs."

"Walking down Stratford High Street, along the south-east border of the Olympic park, the signs are not auspicious," Wainwright observes. "At every junction of this roaring A-road sprouts a steroidal tower, each clad in ever more lurid colours, transforming the street into a gauntlet of competing ambitions. Looming over adjacent council estates, these brash totems are a monument to Olympian greed."

However, he continues, "Despite all the blunders around the edge of the site, there are reasons to be optimistic. The communities within could yet be successful. But an uneasy fact remains: that building on the site of a global event – making workable streets from tarmac wastes and weaving housing around velodromes – is a difficult and expensive way of producing a good city."

Full Story: London's Olympics legacy faces early disqualification

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
poster

A Short History of America

From comic book artist Robert Crumb, poster shows how the built environment has changed throughout the decades.
$14.95
Book cover of Unsprawl

Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places

Explore visionary, controversial and ultimately successful strategies for building people-centered places.
Starting at $12.95