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Planning for the Future of London's Olympic Park

To ensure its longevity, developers of London's Olympic Park have made integration of its facilities into a larger urban renewal plan a priority.
June 24, 2010, 8am PDT | Judy Chang
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Other cities have faced similar post-Olympics challenges, and some have never been able to use the infrastructure they built for the Games to its full capacity afterward, says Nikos Karadimitriou, a lecturer in urban planning at University College London, who was hired as a junior urban planner during the Olympics in Athens in 2004. The real question is how to use the venues and infrastructure so that they "impact the social fabric in a positive way for years to come", Mr. Karadimitriou says. "This has been successfully implemented in cities with a long-term development strategy."

Barcelona, which held the summer Olympic Games in 1992, is usually cited as an Olympic legacy success story. Three kilometers of derelict industrial waterfront was transformed by the Olympic village, and after the Games provided locals with new access to the sea and a new and highly popular esplanade, where restaurants and other leisure facilities have flourished. In Athens, however, where the Games were held in 2004, many of the 22 venues built for the Games lie abandoned.

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Published on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 in WSJ.com
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