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Urbanising the event: how past processes, present politics and future plans shape London’s Olympic legacy  

Davis, Juliet (2012) Urbanising the event: how past processes, present politics and future plans shape London’s Olympic legacy. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The aim of this thesis is to investigate issues connected with planning urban futures from scratch and, conversely, with the development of long‐term planning frameworks, by focussing on designs for the ‘Legacy’ transformation of the 2012 Olympic site. 2012 Games bid organisers claimed that Olympic‐related investments would stimulate in east London – a region characterised by de‐industrialisation and deprivation  ‐  the ‘regeneration of an entire community for the direct benefit of everyone who lives there’ (IOC, p. 19). The development of a long‐term plan for the Olympic site post‐2012 was said to be key in realising this objective, providing the basis for leveraging ongoing investment and restructuring east London’s economy. I am interested in how conceptions of regeneration and legacy are formulated and evidenced in plans for the site’s future and in what these mean for ‘community’ – historic, present and imagined constituencies of local residents and workers. Olympic sceptics argue that the problem with projected Olympic legacies is that there is all too little guarantee that they will actually come to fruition. Meanwhile, regenerations of other post‐industrial sites in London are said to have produced unevenly distributed benefits, least advancing the prospects of those dispossessed by redevelopment and poorer, residual constituencies. This research considers how urban designs: a) frame future benefits connected with London 2012, and; b) mediate between the Olympic site as found, the needs and interests of local people and urban policy and planning objectives. Mixed methods and interdisciplinary perspectives are employed in examining conceptions and in empirically exploring the site’s transformation from 2005 to 2010. Aside from the major themes of legacy and regeneration, chapters are linked through attention on how transforming relationships between authorities and owners influence forms of urbanisation and use. These transformations help to reveal both actual and potential outcomes of 2012’s legacy plans.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Juliet Davis
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Sets: Research centres and groups > Cities Programme
Supervisor: Tonkiss, Fran

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