Global events such as the Olympic Games have the potential to enrich the city in which they are held, both economically and socially. The Olympics in particular promote cultural and social development. However, the effort and economics that the city invests is only advantageous when the event leaves a lasting trace. It is a delicate balance, warns Richard Sennett. The balance rests in the sustainability of the economic and social development of the city at the conclusion of the global event. The investment and design and planning strategies should be thought of in regards to long-term development and flexibility for twenty years down the road when the grounds can be acquired for other uses by the city. In 2012, London will be hosting the Olympic Games and it seems promising that the development of the grounds will bring continued social and economic profit to the area at the end of the games.
More on this discussion after the break.
Watch this discussion about the potential of world events, particularly the Olympic Games. The video references the Athens- and Los Angeles-hosted Olympic Games, where the global event did not benefit the cities. In the case of L.A., it sparked racial riots soon after and did not economically boost the city. London, however, has the potential to develop the Olympic grounds in such a way that it will having a lasting positive influence on the city. Ricky Burdett emphasizes the need to design the architecture as an extension of the city and to consider “how you design it, what the city actually needs, and what it does to the cultural and financial economy.”
The site of the Olympic Games will be in London’s struggling east side has changed dramatically. The Olympic Park promises to transform the area into one of the largest urban parks created in Europe for more than 150 years. The park will be connected to the tidal Thames Estuary to the south and the Hertfordshire countryside to the north. The canals and waterways of the River Lea will be cleaned and widened, and the natural floodplains of the area will be restored to provide a new wetland habitat for wildlife, which birdwatchers and ecologists can enjoy. Read more on the potential of London’s development here: London Olympics 2012: Olympic Park.