Learning the lessons of legacy building

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The Olympic project faces many challenges but perhaps the greatest is the legacy it leaves.

Right from the outset the delivery authority made clear that it didnt have the money, time or human resources to rival events in Beijing.

Instead it opted to define the Games by a sustainable agenda that it claimed would benefit East London and the UK for years to come.

Now, as the Park nears a key milestone with one stadium ready and others due to complete this summer, what are the lessons of legacy building so far?

The first is to have a plan and stick to it.

Although mightily impressive, London didnt want another Birds Nest. The venues were always designed to be temporary so it opted for fabric wraps instead. The wraps, some 30m high and 1km long, will dress the stadia for six weeks before being stripped back for more permanent use.

The second lesson is to practice what you preach. During construction no cars are allowed, only motorbikes and bicycles. Workers are encouraged to take the train and come the Games visitors, too, will be bussed in and out on high-speed Javelin trains (only VIPs get a free pass to the multi-story round the back!).

On site everything is geared towards greening the Park. Over 4.5m tonnes of soil have been washed ready for use; 97% of materials reclaimed from demolition have either been reused or recycled; 4,000 trees will be planted, and a total of 8.35km of waterways will enter into use.

And even high-profile failures, like the giant wind turbine at Eton Manor, have spawned a number of alternative green initiatives, as the Parks authorities look to meet its renewable targets.

The final point is to sell the benefits to anyone wholl listen.

Over 100,000 people have taken the tour so far and who knows, in 100 years time they may still be selling tickets!

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Posted by James Simons on 15th Mar 2011

About the Author

James Simons is publishing manager at APM. He has previously edited APM’s Project magazine for 3+ years and has a background in trade journalism. He has worked in communications and managed both print and digital publications.

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