After a massive lead up, this year’s London Olympics have gone in the blink of an eye. While the focus may have been on the athletes, the games also showcased the incredible feats of architecture and engineering that went into making the Olympic venues.
Now, while the athletes’ Olympic work is done, the industry’s work is only getting started.
The success of the Games are evident, with the games giving a huge economic boost to the low-income area of London the precinct was developed in, but the lasting legacy will depend on how the British industry handles the redevelopment of the venues.
According to Olympic Park Legacy Company advisor Matthew Black, the new sporting infrastructure will not be wasted or turned into a ‘white elephant’ precinct, as was the case with Spain’s Olympic village.
“I was in Barcelona a couple of weeks ago and went the Olympic precinct there. I counted 76 people there,” says Black. “That won’t happen in London.”
To safeguard the city from this same fate, the British industry will now begin work on turning Olympic Park into the large-scale Queen Elizabeth Park community development.
According to the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) the new community will epitomise everything that previous Olympic infrastructure has failed to do.
“Our legacy plans are further advanced than any previous host city, this includes working to make sure the future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will become a benchmark for sustainable living,” says LLDC chief executive Andrew Altman. “This guide sets out an ambitious plan to not just deliver sustainable parklands, homes and jobs but also to create an environment that drives behavioural change.”
In addition to making use of the prime infrastructure, Black notes that the post-games industry stimulus in terms of job generation and associated economic growth is expected to be great. Not only will the ongoing development of this new precinct offer long-term industry jobs, but the new buildings will also bring with them the opportunity for a projected 30,000 employment opportunities, a drastic increase from the 4,500 heavy industry only positions.
While the Olympics are over, the real hard work is about set in for London. Economic boosts from the Games themselves only last for so long, so having undertaken a huge infrastructure investment, it is important that the industry find ways to make that investment pay off in the long term. All projections point to success but, as with all developments, only time will tell.