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The Challenge of Creating a City from the Olympics

The success of the 2012 Olympics in London likely won't be evident until after the event, which is seeking to repurpose a down-and-out part of town into a new neighborhood.
August 26, 2011, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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The London Evening Standard's Kieran Long talks with Eleanor Fawcett, head of design for the Olympic Park Legacy Company, which is leading the development process.

"'We are charged with making a new bit of city, like a great estate, and you make decisions based on a 50-year horizon rather than a five-year one,' she says. Throughout our conversation she flits between amusement at some of the management speak that infects organisations such as the OPLC, and a patient earnestness about the effects of good urban design. In referring to the great estate, she makes an analogy between the task of developing the Olympic Park with the large-scale development of London that happened at the end of the 18th and start of the 19th centuries, when the Grosvenor, Portman and Bedford Estates (among others) were filled with some of London's most beautiful housing. That legacy endures today as some of the best (and most expensive) parts of London to live in. This might seem like a retrograde vision but Fawcett, who is funny and sharp with an ironic sense of humour, is part of a new generation of architects interested not in futuristic shapes and utopian dreams but in the lessons of how our city has developed."

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Published on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 in London Evening Standard
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