This article on London’s successful repurposing of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park caught my eye on Twitter this morning. I was there for the Olympic Games in 2012 and can attest to the fact that the entire park felt like it had been built with a long term vision rather than as an enormous pop up park designed for short term impressions.
It’s great to see that it has taken hold and that industrial style blight won’t be returning to that part of the city. Contrast that with something like Sochi, where I’d be shocked to see long term utility for what was built there.
It reminds me of recent conversation when the idea of a joint Olympic host bid from New York and Philadelphia was floated in some corners. In short, the idea was that the two cities could jointly host an Olympics since the distance between them isn’t particularly daunting. And both could take advantage of existing facilities in many cases to realize economies of scale that tend not to exist for most game sites.
It didn’t happen, but I hope the idea gains traction as a serious option within the next decade or so. If done right, both cities could benefit by internalizing London’s lessons and planning for resurgence in underutilized or blighted areas that are still in close proximity to the city core.