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Olympic legacy planning dilemma - designing transport systems for beyond the Games

By Petros Ieromonachou, James P. Warren and Stephen Potter


A major part of the infrastructure programme for the London 2012 Olympics is to provide a legacy that will play a major part in supporting regeneration in the Lower Lea Valley area. Any investment in transport infrastructure must be justified by future use. Legacy use of post-Olympic sports and transport facilities is but one example of a potential solution to the urban planning dilemma, and possibly an easier one to consider. It would be grossly inefficient to build roads and networks that are under-utilised post-Olympics or that need large further investment in order to make them useful after the Games. However, there is little evidence that past Games have delivered benefits to those people and places most in need. Indication of a sustainable and positive legacy from previous Olympic Games is mixed and uneven – for example in terms of improvements to housing and transport, as well as in terms of community and cultural facilities.\ud This paper attempts to pre-empt answers for questions such as: How can well-specified short-term design requirements be combined with the flexibility to address long-term transport needs? How do we know that what we perceive as legacy now will be considered as such in 10 or 30 or 50 years? The paper examines the proposed sustainable transport provision for the London 2012 Olympics and its intended legacy role in economic and social regeneration across East London. A framework is presented, based on a scorecard system, to evaluate the London Olympics transport infrastructure design conundrum. The scorecard factors concerning past host cities include: Aspiration, Urban renewal, Environment, City economy, Tourism, Sports and Community Participation, Disability awareness, Employment, Skills. Part of the dilemma in these types of measurements is the act of hindsight; the impact of the Games is not clearly known until long after the Games are complete

Topics: GV, HE
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