“Inspire A Generation” was the motto for the Olympic redevelopment project for London, and with that slogan came some pretty big promises. The campaign ran on the ticket of lasting sustainability aimed at addressing the capital’s socio-economic problems particularly in the East End. Sports facilities were intended to be left for use by local residents, giving young people far more than
just a youth club to keep them off the streets.
Arguably London secured the Olympics due to big plans on building brand new sports facilities. But this promise came from a lack of existing sports and leisure venues in the first place. There was a clear need for redevelopment, Olympics or not.
But the BBC has reported that the 2012 Olympics have not delivered a lasting, eco-friendly development. There was a huge drive to make these the greenest games ever – comparatively this is true. The designs of most buildings in the Olympic Park and its surroundings are based on lasting green technology and sustainable resources.
Ninety-seven percent of all waste was recycled, however this was achieved through temporary government intervention, general recycling has hardly improved at all in communities.
The Olympic team brought in LOCOG to ensure that twenty percent of all energy use was generated from renewables. The result was a wind-turbine that didn’t work and little by way of solar or biofuels. The target to reduce carbon emissions was, however a success, with London reducing emissions by 47%, compared to what would have been used without a green initiative.
Many residents in the Borough of Hackney weren’t pleased when a temporary basketball training building was erected on a green-field site. This is an area where many do not have their own gardens. Protests followed. The training building now stands empty, without any public access,
grabbing land that previously hosted local wildlife.
Surprisingly there are incredibly rare animals living in these small fields across London and the areas have been designated as being of specific environmental interest. The Olympic team decided to build nonetheless.
So great was the concern over building on green land that the Occupy Movement was called in to help block construction vehicles. This led to ten days of arrests. Construction continued in earnest.
The biggest winners at the Olympic Games were arguably corporations who left London with millions in profit. Little has been invested back into areas such as Leyton Marsh, which hosts critical animal species.
All in all, the Olympics may have been fun to watch, (I’d argue that one but this isn’t the place), but there hasn’t been a resonant message left by the Games. Perhaps that is due to the powers involved not listening to local people in the first place.
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