Redevelopment efforts are bustling in Stratford district, London, preparing the city to host its Olympic Games in July 2012. The $15 billion effort targets the development of Olympic Park and long term change of East London. The city after winning the bid to host the games, passed the compulsory purchase orders (CPO) to nearly 300 businesses within the Olympic Park Zone which includes 5,000 employed in Marshgate Lane industrial area and several hundred in other sites. Areas that were regenerated earlier were also subjected to CPO.
Olympic Park Aerial, London, 2012
Schematic View of London Olympic Park, 2012
London Development Agency (LDA) demanded the Clays Lane residents to relocate in order for the area to meet the demands of 2012 games. This area has undergone many regeneration efforts in over 10 years. The LDA has spent £ 1.3 billion, leaving an excess debt of £500 million (Evans Graeme, London 2012). ‘The irony is that, while London’s vibrant, diverse and influential culture has been promoted as a significant aspect of London 2012, the very studio complexes that have contributed to that vitality, along with other supporting businesses such as materials suppliers are under threat and some have disappeared altogether’(Millington, 2009).
Vancouver’s Olympic Village worked towards sustainable design in winter 2010. The city took pride of its 100 acres sustainable Olympic Village and its 14 million square foot complex which accommodated 3000 athletes. Most of the Vancouver’s Olympic facilities were transformed to civic and community uses. Though the Athletic Village were readily converted to mixed use units after Olympics, the selling price of each condos are $4.3 million in this economic downturn.
Vancouver Olympic Village, 2010
Beijing hosted the most fanciful and expensive Olympic games in 2008. In spite of whole neighborhood displacements, China spent nearly $40 billion in city wide upgrades. The Bird’s Nest and Water Cube are renowned for Beijing’s Olympic extravaganza. The city just visualized empty shells after the game. Athens estimated a budget of around $1.6 billion to host the games in 2004. It finally ended up spending $16 billion with most of its facilities being underutilized. Despite the fact that the summer events in Barcelona defined it as world class tourist destination, the Barcelona Organizing Committee broke even in 1992. Montreal faced a debt of $2.7 billion dollars after the 1976 Olympics (Zimbalist, Andrew, 2009).
Bird’s Nest Fire Works, Beijing Olympics, 2008
It is evident that the host city is subjected to redevelopment, revitalization, infrastructure improvements, create employment opportunities, attract tourists and long term economic benefits. However, the afterglow is never exciting. The cities usually under estimate the cost of hosting the games. All host cities are now asked by the government to take the Olympic Games Impact Study (OGIS). The Olympic facilities should be planned not only to meet the needs of the games but also the demands of the cities even after the game is over. Don’t know what is in stake for Rio de Janeiro expecting to have its summer games in 2016. For all the pride the host city takes in being in the international spotlight for two weeks and the money it invests to conduct Olympic Games, is there an economic boost? Are the manpower and resources utilized efficiently? Is it ingenious for the host city to consider only long term benefits?
- Berg, Nate (2010) ‘The Olympics and the City’, The Design Observer Group.
- Brent Toderian (2012) ‘Olympic Cities and Advanced City-Making’, Planetizen. http://www.planetizen.com/node/54881 (Accessed April 2012).
- James, Brian (2009) ‘Vancouver’s Olympic Village Aims High on Sustainability Scale’, Architectural Record.
- John R. Gold, Margaret M. Gold, eds. ‘Olympic Cities: Urban Planning, City Agendas and the World’s Games, 1896 to the present.’ H Net Online. http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=30515 (Accessed April 2012).
- The New York Times (2009) ‘Do Olympic Host Cities Ever Win’, The Opinion Pages. http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/02/do-olympic-host-cities-ever-win/ (Accessed April 2012).
- Faiola, Anthony (2012) ‘Will the 2012 Olympics Revitalize East London?’ The Washington Post.
- Evans, Grame (2010). JR & M GOLD (EDS). ‘OLYMPIC CITIES: CITY AGENDAS, PLANNING AND THE WORLD’S GAMES 1896-2012, ROUTLEDGE – FORTHCOMING.
- The EpochTimes (2011). Eye on China. Politics, Society and Economy. ‘Another Olympics in China? No Thanks, Chinese Say’. http://blog.theepochtimes.com/1/china/2011/08/04/another-olympics-in-china-no-thanks-chinese-say/ (Accessed April 2012).
- John R. Gold, Margaret M. Gold (2008). ‘Olympic Cities: Regeneration, City Rebranding and Changing Urban Agendas. Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
- Wines, Michael (2010). The New York Times ‘ After Summer Olympics, Empty Shells in Beijing. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/07/weekinreview/07wines.html?_r=1 (Accessed April 2012).