“Fit the Games to the City not the City to the Games” that’s the overarching message from our executive vice president, global sports and social infrastructure lead Bill Hanway.
Bill recently joined representatives from London, Paris and Los Angeles on New London Architecture’s (NLA) Olympic Cities webinar to discuss the role of infrastructure in delivering the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the importance of legacy.
Bill has worked on three Olympic and Paralympic Games: London 2012, Rio 2016, and Tokyo 2020 and is now part of the LA28 team.
“In London, the mayor at the time, Ken Livingston, was very clear that hosting the Games was about creating a sustainable legacy for East London – environmental, economic and social”. To achieve that we followed the premise Games, Transformation, Legacy. A premise that also led us to win the design competition for Rio2016”
Bill draws attention to the seismic shift in how cities are now approaching planning for Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“In London the focus was on the regeneration and transformation of an entire part of the East End. The Park was the star of the show and the development of new infrastructure in that part of the city was vital to the delivery of the legacy”.
“If we look ahead to Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028, we’re seeing two cities that have both hosted the Games before. Here we’re seeing a focus on using the cities’ existing infrastructure rather than developing new and a much stronger emphasis on physical and community sustainability”.
“It’s about fitting the Games to the city not the city to the Games. In southern California and the greater Los Angeles area we’re blessed with some of the world’s leading sports venues already. LA is home to 11 professional sports teams, many with their own premier stadiums. Take for example the SoFi Stadium and Intuit Dome, the new home of the LA Clippers basketball team in Inglewood that my team have recently designed and developed”.
Bill explains that 75 percent of the venues that will be used at LA28 are existing, reinforcing the need for the Olympic and Paralympic Games to be delivered sustainably. “The Memorial Coliseum in LA, will be the first main stadium to have been used for three Olympic Games - 1932, 1984 and now it’ll be used again as part of LA28. Independently from the Games, we are seeing the city invest heavily in transportation infrastructure as a necessary part of the city’s future success”.
Making use of existing venues and investing in transport networks to facilitate access and connect people across the cities is a theme echoed by Paris.
Yann Krysinski, senior vice president of project management at Solideo, the public body responsible for delivering the infrastructure for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games explains:
“We’re relying heavily on existing infrastructure and temporary venues. The Stadium Yves du Manoir in Colombes which was built for the 1924 Games will be renovated and reused exactly 100 years after it was first used. Only two new venues will be constructed – the Aquatics Center and the Arena Porte de la Chapelle”.
Bill highlights that the approach to the LA and Paris Games is in sharp contrast to that of Rio in 2016 and the impact this has had on the legacy. “The contracts for Rio2016 were let at the peak, since then we’ve seen and are continuing to see many economic fluctuations and the legacy has been disappointing”.
In London, Rosanna Lawes, from the London Legacy Development Corporation explains the need for the Games to help the city grow, particularly east wards as well as creating jobs and opportunities to boost socio-economic growth. “This was as much about investment in physical infrastructure and stitching this part of London back into the wider city as it was about placemaking”.
The legacy of the Games in London is evident, five new residential neighborhoods and new innovation districts created at Eastbank, Hackney Wick and Here East.
John Harper, chief operating officer for LA28, has already started investing in legacy seven years ahead of the Games. “Our vision for the Games is bold, we want to create a human legacy. That’s why we’ve created ‘Play LA’ and invested over $160 million up front to deliver a program of opportunities for the disadvantaged communities across the city region. We’ll also be looking to provide non-event tickets to improve the accessibility of the Games, allowing as many people as possible to engage in what the Olympic and Paralympic movement is really all about”.