After the Olympic party – thinking back to London 2012

The problem of big events and their impact on local conditions extends to the problems and potentials of the impacts of the sites of these events on the local fabrics and communities that immediately abut them. We already know that the benefits of very global places, like Canary Wharf in London, do not necessarily trickle sideways into local fabrics. In the case of the developments in East London for the 2012 Olympics, the example of the Canary Wharf – the iconic urban development of 80’s ‘trickle down’ economics – was right on the doorstep for all to see.

In this project done before the 2012 games, Wu Penghan uses Canary Wharf to study the dynamics of the interaction of global places with adjacent fabrics and uses the results to explore the possibilities and difficulties of achieving positive global-local interrelation across the borders of the Olympic site. He finds enough potential to come up with a strategy that consists of making a secondary centre in an adjacent neighbourhood capable of attracting both neighbourhood and more global activity. Nevertheless his project is a sharp critique of the Olympic plan in that it implies that not enough was done on the site itself to make the area similarly multi-scaled and capable of simultaneously serving both global and local interests.

Wu Penghan: Mile End Circus


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