David Hill writes on The Guardian about the debate erupted as London succeeded on the bid for the 2012 Olympics. “Will East Londoners be winners?” he asks, or in other words, How can we make the most of such a big world-scale event in order to meet the need of regeneration of East London? How can we spend smarter the £9.3billion expected to do something that would last after the 15 days of amusement? That’s the big question, a question that, by the way, and after the experience of Barcelona, Atlanta, Sidney, Atenas or Beijing we should have been able to answer.
Indeed, the most outstanding case-study of success is usually Barcelona, recognized by many as the right example to be followed. Why? because, in general terms they spent the money to improve the city as a whole, not only for the visitors during the 1992 Games, but also for the residents, with new infrastructure and better access to seafront just to mention part of the strategy.
Therefore, in this case, I would ask quite frankly, ¿is money been spend to improve the city as a whole?. I am sure many people of Stratford would be very happy to have a nice new park and sports facilities on a walking distance but would those be accessible for all Londoners after the Games? How can we make it to ensure the answer to that question is YES?
Apart from that, I would like to make another point. As we all already know, regeneration is not only about building fantastic, stylish, accessible infrastructure although it helps. Regeneration implies also looking at ways of creating new jobs (that would last after the Olympics), training people in order to benefit from new opportunities, and more and better social services just to mention some of the aspects. Now, I would raise the last question: How much of those £9.3billion is being spent on that? I apologies if it doesn’t sound very scientific but, in my opinion, “the regeneration obtained” might be directly proportional to the money invested in these sections.