Will there be a legacy?

August 8, 2012   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

Expectations were high. London 2012 was expected to deliver the most sustainable Games ever. But will there be a legacy? I have always seen London 2012 as a sustainable regeneration project interrupted by a few weeks of sport. This is a view developed by the political leaders at the time and led to the concept of the sustainable Games. There is no doubt that East London has exploded on to the world stage as a place to visit, live and work. In the words of Sir Winston Churchill “perhaps this is the end of the beginning” for a sustainable legacy in East London. Personally I saw stories of West End shops and eateries being relatively quiet as a ringing endorsement for the arrival of the East End as a destination. People were going to the Games and choosing to stay on the Park or in the local vicinity. Unthinkable five years ago. Visitors will undoubtedly return to the West End but hopefully they will return with their wallets to the East End too, providing an economic route to a better future. There is much more to be done in East London and we turn to Daniel Moylan in his new …

The best building on the Park…..?

August 6, 2012   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

When the competition is over, the judges’ scores are counted and the chairperson of the judging panel adjudicates the result, which buildings will get the medals? The obvious contender for Gold would be the wonderful Velodrome. For me this is the Jessica Ennis of buildings, the “Face of the Games”. I have waxed lyrical about this building before; 30% better energy efficiency (double the target of 15%), half the weight of materials compared to the Beijing Velodrome, sustainable timber cladding etc. However I would like to make the case for two far less glamorous buildings; the Energy Centre and the building housing the membrane bio-reactor at Old Ford. The ODA has delivered exemplary low carbon infrastructure with 47% lower carbon compared to a “business as usual” case, assuming that the site was constructed in accordance with current regulations. All of the permanent venues were specified to deliver 15% greater energy efficiency and the wonderful Velodrome achieved 30%. However, the jewels in the low carbon crown are not the iconic buildings you see on TV but the un-glamorous energy centre and the even less glamorous building housing a membrane bio-reactor. The energy centre houses a gas engine which generates electricity from …

Why doesn’t London want to see Tom Jones for free?

August 4, 2012   |   Posted by Emma Synnott

There is so much going on in London at the moment it is hard to keep up. But this sentiment appears to be shared by many – in fact too many. London is putting on some of the biggest musical events it has ever hosted in conjunction with live sport, and yet the venues are well under capacity. With the controversy still raging over ticketing for Olympic events, why is it that the capital’s two huge free venues are so unloved? I spent the best part of a day at the Hyde Park BT Live Site and was mightily impressed by the three enormous screens showing different live sport, by the array of food outlets, and the range of fun things for children and adults to do. All of this for absolutely no charge is a wonderful contribution to making the Olympics accessible to all. What’s more, Hyde Park and Victoria Park Live Sites are featuring the UK’s best-loved performers rocking their way into Londoners’ hearts, or hoping to at least. We have been shocked to learn that performers have cancelled and crowds have generally been way under expectations. But dig a little deeper and there appears to be a …

The future is east 

August 3, 2012   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

  I have been intrigued by the media articles showing distraught West End shop keepers and restaurateurs bemoaning the Olympics for emptying their emporia of customers. It seems that the promise of economic prosperity for all driven by the magic Olympic rings has evaporated as quickly as Mark Cavendish’s medal hopes. Or has it? I have spent part of every day for the past week and a half in and around Stratford or on the Park and the place is rockin’. It has been an absolute joy to see masses of happy people dressed in the colours of their nations enjoying their day on the Park. In particular the families, often several generations with small children experiencing something they can tell their grandchildren in years to come. “I was there”. One little boy I saw just wanted to watch the trains that ran under the main concourse..but that’s just a little boy thing. Most of us grow out of it, but a small minority grow up to be trainspotters.  For me London 2012 is still work in progress because it is a regeneration project interrupted by a few weeks of sport. The purpose of having the Olympics in the first …

Olympic sized drought

August 1, 2012   |   Posted by Emma Synnott


Who would have thought that after weeks and weeks of rain there could be a shortage of water at Olympic venues this week? We are certainly not talking the rivers and canals which are flowing freely but the far more immediate question of the drinking variety. London 2012 is the first games in recent times to offer free drinking water. Not since certain global beverage manufacturers managed to hoodwink the world into believing that paying for tap water to be bottled was better than drinking it directly from the tap, has there been such a reversal of fortunes for the …