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Regeneration

Mythmaking the London Olympics

Mythmaking the London Olympics and its aftermath continues. A body called the Architecture Foundation, based in far off Kensington Gore, is the latest to decide it should provide a commentary on the Olympic Park. Publicity on its Facebook site announces they will explore ‘the revolutionary new district which replaced one of the East End’s most implacable industrial wastelands’. Where precisely the revolution has taken place is anyone’s guess but even the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) has given up on the wasteland description of the land but myths live on in the architectural imagination. It makes for a much more adventurous event when you’re slumming it in the East End to be exploring a former wasteland rather than a place which was ‘a hive of activity and industrial innovation’ as the revisionists at the LLDC now describe the former industrial land on their Sweetwater page, Before the Games. No mention is made of those displaced by the event.


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Aftermath 2012 - Anything in Stratford is an Olympic Legacy

Back in July 2016 after I posted an article about job creation in the aftermath of London2012 on Games Monitor BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme contacted me for an interview. They had come across my FoI requests which showed that so far fewer than 1000 jobs had been created on the Olympic Park and LLDC projections for homes within the Park were likely to be lower than 6,650. In fact following further reseach I found that the figure is probably around 4,700 with the possibility of a 'legacy' of almost no genuinely affordable housing when taking into account the demolition of housing at Clays Lane and Park Village for the Olympics.

My interview with You and Yours was pre-recorded making it impossible for me to argue on air. The programme then held a live interview with the London Legacy Development Corporation's Director of Communications, Marketing and Strategy, Ben Fletcher, who proceeded to claim the LLDC would be creating 40,000 jobs and 24,000 homes. He compared this with a town the size of Milton Keynes in its early stages.

The BBC interviewer pointed out that Stratford City, the massive development next to the Olympic Park, would have been built anyway. Fletcher couldn't disagree with this obvious statement but resorted to the usual strategy of casting doubt on whether Stratford City would have been completed given the credit crunch. Fletcher also repeated the canard of the 'catalytic' effect and declared "what we don't know and what we will never know is whether those projects would have survived without the Olympics." Many people, he thought, would say they would not have done so.

Sadly in these circumstances reporters are often not well versed in the specifics of the case. For example, the much touted 'catalytic' effect had been discounted long before in 2003 by the Olympics master planner, Jason Prior. A property journalist had reported:

Prior believes the long-term regeneration elements and development opportunities will happen with or without the Olympics. What may differ is the pace of change. In the event of a successful bid, developers in partnerships might have to play a longer-term game – the land would not be freed for its end use until after the 2012 event.


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Aftermath 2012 - Affordable Housing Squeeze

Additional information re Athletes Village in section []

One of the major promises of London 2012 was that it would create a large number of affordable homes for East Londoners.

In a recent Freedom of Information response to a question:

How many homes are now expected to be provided on the Olympic Park? What is the breakdown expected to be per neighbourhood?


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a bridge too far

Today finally sees the re-opening of Lea Bridge Station, closed for the last 31 years. Trumpeted parenthetically last week in a tweet from the Standard's Ross Lydall as following a "£5m Olympic windfall".


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Brazil's Dance with the Devil - The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy by Dave Zirin

Brazil's Dance with the Devil by Dave ZirinBrazil's Dance with the Devil by Dave ZirinWritten by Dave Zirin, sports editor of the US newspaper The Nation, published by Haymarket Brazil's Dance with the Devil is a high octane read through the infatuation of Brazil's political elite with mega-events. Written before the 2014 World Cup it is highly relevant to the upcoming Rio Olympic Games. There is plenty of background on the politics of the bid and how it fits into the Lula era. However, its key focus is on the impact on the poorest communities, the favelas. As a sports journalist of unusual stripe Dave Zirin takes a look at significant sports personalities, notably the footballers Socrates and Pele, and how they represent different forces in Brazilian sport and society. Given the political importance of sport and its alleged disconnection from politics it is fascinating to read about Socrates' political classes at Corinthians. Zirin also provides a brief history of recent Olympics and highlights how the Games are about much more than sport, they provide an opportunity to redesign the city, minus the poor.


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'Many a Darkly-Woven Lie' - The Aftermath: London2012 compensation battles continue

How appropriate that Pindar's Olympic Ode is quoted at the opening of the Greater London Authority's Olympic Legacy Supplementary Planning Guidance.

Well! these are tales of mystery!
And many a darkly-woven lie
With men will easy credence gain;
While truth, calm truth, may speak in vain,
For eloquence, whose honey’d sway
Our frailer mortal wits obey,
Can honour give to actions ill,
And faith to deeds incredible;
And bitter blame, and praises high,
Fall truest from posterity.

(Translations Of Pindar: The First Olympic Ode)


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Learning from London: The other side of the Olympics - a film from Hamburg

A film by Hamburg filmmaker Marlene Wynants on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics - in English with German subtitles


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newham goes supernova

Convergence is coming, that long anticipated regeneration supernova is starting to explode:


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