London School of Economics Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) LSE
Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE)

City Reformer's Group:

September 2007: Stratford City, Olympic Park & Canning Town visit

Stratford City & The Olympic Park

Following their 2-day meeting, the City Reformers Group went on a site visit designed to illustrate the themes discussed at the conference - land reclamation, physical regeneration, social integration & neighbourhood renewal, economic change & new skills - all these were seen 'in action' in the East End of London.

We started the tour with a view over the Stratford City development, which includes the future Olympic Village, and the new Stratford International train station (which will link King's Cross station to Europe via Stratford, through the Channel Tunnel Rail Link). The development covers 73 hectares of brownfield land, most of it formerly belonging to the railways. Our guide Simon Rees, the Strategic Housing Partnership & Development Manager at Newham Council, explained that the new Stratford rail interchange has been a major spur for the development of the area. The agreement that Eurotunnel would have a stop at Stratford on the way into central London, a decision made in the 1980s, galvanised other development in the area. The £4 billion Stratford City project now aims to create a new 'metropolitan centre' in this low-income area of East London within the next 15 years.

We then toured the Olympic Park site with guides from the Olympic Delivery Agency (the site is now sealed off, no cameras allowed!). The ODA explained its high environmental standards and the care they were taking to ensure the construction project protected local wildlife, including 'translocating' large numbers of rare & protected species. We saw the soil washing machine that will decontaminate and recycle nearly 1 million m3 of soil; the planned new stadium; the site of the Olympic village and the giant wind turbine. The vast tunnels being dug to bury the unsightly electric pylons illustrated the sheer scale of works being undertaken. It was hard to connect such a massive change in the urban environment with the experiences of the local community, which is among the lowest-income areas in the country.

Go onto the Canning Town Visit Photos

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