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How much does a conscience cost?

November 19, 2010

I went to an interesting discussion last night about how the Olympic Park will (or won’t) transform East London.

Duncan Innes, Executive Director of Real Estate at the Olympic Park Legacy Company stressed how important family housing is to the success of the park and sung the praises of the efforts made to maintain the biodiversity.

Stefan Szymanski a sports economist from Cass Business School was skeptical as to whether this could do anything to stop the park from becoming an enclave of West London for rich people.

John Lock, London 2012 specialist academic from UEL removed himself from issues of social inclusivity in the here and now and imagined a future where by 2030 the two Westfield shopping centres in Shepherds Bush and Stratford would be seen as the new gateway’s to the city.

Saskia Nelson talked about the kind of work they have been doing at ELBA to connect young people through culture and sport to the Olympics.

I got the general feeling that there were two clear messages – if there are to be long-term benefits from the Olympic park they won’t be seen at least for another 20 years and that the cuts in public spending have reduced the chances of these benefits being ‘socially inclusive’.

I guess this shows how important it is for the Olympics to have conscience and to maintain it no matter what the money is or isn’t available and also how important all the little organisations and projects are that can find ways to position themselves between the great forces of regeneration and people.

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