Housing Specification Blog

Can East London live up to the expectations of the nation?

August 13, 2012 Alexandra Blakeman Housing Issues

The real challenge is still to come: can London’s East end ride on the back of Olympic success? Click on image for original source.

As the world looked onto East London for the final time last night, speculations about the legacy of the 2012 Olympics are ubiquitous in today’s press.

This morning, The Financial Times warned of a ‘two decade legacy wait’ in an effort to dampen  expectations of an instant East London transformation.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has however urged ministers to ride on the ‘rip-roaring success’ of the Games by ‘taking bold steps’ in housing and infrastructure.

The overall two decade plan for the Olympic site will see the creation of a new East London community. The near-by boroughs of Newham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest will be effected by the ongoing renovation projects which hope to provide 8,000 new homes, schools and offices. Existing Olympic sporting facilities are to be maintained for public use.

Will the Olympic legacy make a prompt effect on housing depravity in the East London boroughs? With thousands on the waiting lists for social housing in these areas, it’s difficult to know whether the wealth injected by the Games will have the desired impact on the housing sector.

It might be comforting to think that the park and surrounding areas will become a little hive of wealth and investment after the Games, but previous host cities have often failed to capitalise on the Olympic legacy.

Sydney hosted the Games back in 2000. Their Olympic park was left without a specific use until 2005. Despite a largely successful Games, the 2008 host city of Beijing rarely use their purpose built Olympic stadium, affectionately known as the Bird’s Nest. Are we looking at a timeline of wasted resources, or will London be able to buck the trend and put the Olympic stadia to good use?

To create more housing in the east, infrastructure and transport links will have to be improved. New and extended tube links are planned, with the first Crossrail due to open in five years time.

For the Telegraph, Boris Johnson said: “We need to build hundreds of thousands of new homes. If we invest in a huge building programme, put in a lot of public sector land, de-risk it for the developers and get the construction sector going again it will start to drive the economy.”

With the closing ceremony and the events of the last 16 days still fresh in our minds, it’s difficult to quash the buzz that surrounds the Olympic legacy. The Games will leave an undoubted impact on the Capital, but we look on to see whether London’s East end can rise from the Olympic haze and meet the demands of a nation.

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    East LondonhousingOlympic legacyolympicsrenovationurban renewal

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