News / Europe

Olympic Construction Brings Big Changes to E. London

Olympic Construction Brings Big Changes to East Londoni
|| 0:00:00
X
Al Pessin
July 05, 2012 4:25 PM
The 2012 Olympic Park is in East London, a poor area that was largely ignored until the city won the right to host the games seven years ago. Since then it has been transformed. But some people question whether the changes were as positive as officials claim, and how the area will fare after the Games are over. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.

Rebuilding this area of East London was part of the 2012 Olympics plan with an environmental cleanup, new housing, stores and parks, as well as the sports facilities.

TEXT SIZE - +
Al Pessin
LONDON — The 2012 Olympic Park is in East London, a poor area that was largely ignored until the city won the right to host the games seven years ago.  Since then it has been transformed.  But some people question whether the changes were as positive as officials claim, and how the area will fare after the Games are over.

Rebuilding East London was part of the 2012 Olympics plan from the very beginning, with an environmental cleanup, new housing, stores and parks, as well as the sports facilities.  The goal was to make this a prosperous, integral part of London in a way it had never been.

So Olympics organizers created Olympic Park Legacy Company to plan for the future from the very beginning.  The company promises park land, access to first class sports facilities, thousands of jobs and a more vibrant local economy.

"This park has been invested in," said Peter Tudor, one of the senior officials behind Olympic Park Legacy Company.  "It used to be almost wasteland.  There were some factories here.  There were some disused areas.  There was a lot of junk that had been dumped here.  But now it's a beautiful park and it becomes a new park for the city."

Most of what is now the Olympic Park was either abandoned or occupied by factories and businesses.  One of them was the Forman and Sons fish smoking business, run by Lance Forman, who decided to build his new factory, along with a restaurant, art gallery and party venue, just a few hundred meters from the old one, in the shadow of the new Olympic Stadium.

"People come here now, people who lived in London all their lives, and they come to events or to our restaurant and they look out of the window and they say 'Oh my God, I didn't realize this part of London existed.'  Well I think that when the Olympics happens, you're going to have half a million people here on our doorstep every day.  They will love it and they will want to come back," said Forman.

But some local residents are not happy with the redevelopment that the Olympics brought, including Julian Cheyne, whose apartment building was torn down to make way for the Park.

"I'm not saying there hasn't been a transformation," Cheyne explained.  "The question is whether it's a desirable transformation in what they've done now, or whether it was so bad in first place.  The kind of language which is used, 'urban desert' and a 'scar,' is simply not true."

Cheyne believes the Olympic facilities will not benefit the people who live nearby and says redevelopment was beginning to happen anyway.

Much of the impact of the Olympics in East London will not be known for years, maybe decades.  But Peter Tudor of Olympic Park Legacy Company is eager to get started.

"We've been planning for this for a long time and we can't wait to get our hands on the park and get to work," Tudor said.  "We can make a difference with these venues.  Come back in a few years' time and we'll show you how we've done it."

With a string of broken promises in some past Olympic cities, many people will be doing just that.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid