Impacts of event-driven mega projects on surrounding neighbourhoods - the case of the London Olympic Park

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Abstract Summary
London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympic games due to its focus on urban regeneration (Poynter, 2009). Aiming to redevelop one of the most deprived areas of the city, the 2012 Olympics would drive jobs and investments, and improve skills and quality of life in East London (Hansard, 2005). This paper conducts an empirical research to identify if, and how far these urban development goals have been met in the years after the games. The spatial changes to the street and transportation network, that have been brought about as a direct result of the construction of the Olympic Park and the regenerative efforts in its immediate vicinity are studied using space syntax theory and method and compared to the changes in socio-economic indicators before and after the Olympics, including - population density, employment density, income, house prices, health and well-being, housing and living environment, crime, and education. Direct causes and effects are identified through statistical regression, which are also tested within incremental distances from the London Olympic Park to identify the physical extent of the impact. Through this study, it is identified that there have been significant changes to population, employment, per capita income, living environment and crime around the park, which correlates directly to changes in the spatial environment. However, it is also identified that the extent of the impact is limited to 1600m from the Olympic park, 8 years after the event, which strongly coincides with the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) limits. This indicates that the regenerative efforts often stop with the facilities planned and built for the event and it takes a very long time for the benefits to trickle down to the surrounding neighbourhoods. In the context of the city of Doha and the upcoming World Cup in 2022, this study can provide insight into the benefits and shortcomings of event-driven planning and offer suggestions for ensuring wide-reaching benefits of hosting an event.
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2: Ensuring the Economic Diversity and Resilience
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Architect and Urban Designer
University College London
Associate Professor
University College London
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