Urban Regeneration – 2012 Olympics in east London

Urban Regeneration

These questions have been taken from the DVD film ‘Urban Regeneration – the London 2012 Olympics’ from ‘Education with vision’. 

WHY WE WON THE BID?

What does the Forman and Sons factory do?

    H Forman and Sons is a smoked salmon manufacturing firm which provides the centre of London with smoked salmon. Some of their customers include Harrods and other top London restaurants.

What does it gain from its location in east London?

Access to the city and labour!

Why is there so much manufacturing employment in east London?

East London is known as a manufacturing hub because it is exposed to cheap land, easy access to the city and labour. The land is also flat allowing factories to be built easily.

What happened to east London between the 1850s and the mid 20th century?

East London became a world centre for manufacturing in the 1850s. This was because there was a skilled workforce available, links to railway and ships and flat land. It was home to manufacturing of the textile, food, engineering, chemical industries e.g. N G Rifles. The 1900s saw an influx of migrants come in search of work and the economy of east London continued to prosper. Then from 1914 to 1918 World War 1 broke out. East London was bombed in 1917 because of WW1 leaving much destruction. Then around the 1920s, global depression hit the world due to the war and east London begun to decline. To add to this declination – further unemployment was caused by cheaper imports and automation to much of the industry in east London. From unemployment the negative multiplier hit and the area became derelict.

What were the effects of industrial growth on east London’s population?

Industrial growth attracted migrants from all over the globe. These migrants were particularly male and young. This made the population more young and diverse although there were more men then women.

Why did East London’s employment begin to decline?

I already explained about employment begun to decline from the 1914 to circa 1950s. Between the 25 year gap from 1950 to 1975 more than 40,000 jobs were lost. Eventually in the early 1980s the docks finally closed. If people had not done so, then they did it now, they migrated away.

Describe the effects of decline on east London’s population.

The migrants that had one made the town young and diverse fled. Many of the once economically active Britons fled too. This left many of the elderly who did not have the energy to flee. 

Outline what the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) achieved.

The LDDC worked for roughly 20 years. They begun regenerating the area in 1981; 25,000 new homes were built, private investment was attracted, London City Airport opened in 1987, ExCel centre was planned and eventually built, Canary Wharf helped create 82,000 jobs, the jubilee line was extended and the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) was created.

Why does Norman Turner say this was ‘not something we would ever want to repeat’?

Norman Turner, a member of Newham Borough Council, says that Canary Wharf was ‘not something we would ever want to repeat’ because it lacked social engagement and community participation. These factors are key for sustainability and the success for the locals.

What problems does east London face, compared to other areas of the city?

East London has the highest unemployment yet average salary of £100,000 in 2007. Even though the LDA (London Docklands Agency) created 100,000 new jobs the only ones on offer for locals were cleaners and security guards. The fundamental problem here is that regeneration in the past whether it be St Katherine’s Dock or Canary Wharf was done for others i.e. tourists or city worker not the locals.

What is Newham’s population like (its age, social characteristics)?

Newham has the most youngest and diverse population in the whole of London. 41% are under 24. However, it also has the highest proportion of 1 parent families hence people are not able to work and rely on benefits.

What are the main housing issues in the borough?

25% of houses in Newham are overcrowded because there is a lack of affordable housing. 

What environmental problems does the borough face?

Newham faces many environmental problems some include; illegal dumping in Lea Valley, litter from food packaging, contaminated soil and toxic waste left all over the borough.

What will the Olympics do about these?

The hope is with the 2012 Olympics planes, land will be decontaminated, brownfield sites will be revitalised and sustainable legacy will form.

ECONOMIC REGENERATION

What evidence is given that businesses were doing well before the Olympic bid?

Before the Olympic bid there was much evidence that businesses were doing well. The area was already regenerating and there were plans to build a mega shopping mall called ‘Stratford city’ in 2007.However, this was put off in 2005 when London won the Olympic bid. One of the ways in which the area has already started attracted private investment – it was offering grants for businesses to locate there. For example H Forman and Sons were given a grant to locate there in the first place.

What is ‘Stratford city’? How did the Olympics change what was to happen there?

Stratford city was the planned shopping centre that was going to open in 2007. After the Olympics this site is now used for the Olympics venue. 

What does the Olympic park consist of?

Eurostar airport (Stratford City), Aquatic centre, Stadium, Olympic Village  – housing etc and a Velodrum.

H Forman and other companies aren’t happy about the Olympics. Why is this?

This is because they believe they area was already regenerating with grant assistance etc. Therefore, they firstly don’t believe the benefits of the Olympics will out weight the costs. In addition, H Forman is 1 of 250 companies being demolished to make way for the new park. They are being told to relocate. However, the Olympics has caused value in land price hence making it difficult to move somewhere close by and if they move far on cheap land then it will make it harder for workers to come in (travel disruption).

How have companies been persuaded to move out of the Olympic park area?What have been the good and bad points about this?

They have been told that the influx of private investment into the area will help their business prosper. Each company has also been given financial help to relocate. Some say the difficulties that firms still face to relocate (due to high land prices) is having an adverse effect on Newham’s economy. Authorities are still doing their best they have even cut down the size of the park.  Overall, the net increase in jobs is immense hence the business we feel sorry to say bye to now is insignificant compared to the promised economic success to the area.

SOCIAL REGENERATION

In what ways are the people of east London worse off than others in the city?

They are having to relocate their homes and jobs and there is possibility they may never be able to live there again! 

What is Clays Lane like? What is to be built there? Why is this so controversial?

Clays Lane is ‘affordable housing’ and is home to 450 people. It doesn’t look particularly attractive but it helps provide good quality housing for those who are in the low income bracket.The new Olympics housing is now being built there. This is controversial because to a certain it is like St. Katherine’s  Dock where regeneration did not happen for the local community.  Also, in Sydney similar housing was said to be built for the Olympics and then passed onto locals however because the government ran out of money they had to sell all the housing off to private investors and locals are worried this might happen again.

What difficulties do local people face at Clays Lane?

Finding social housing in nearby areas so that they can still reach their job and this is not easy as not much housing nearby is social housing and there is a huge demand.

ENVIRONMENTAL REGENERATION

What is the ‘Lea Valley Regional Park Authority’? What was its aim?

The Lee Valley Regional Park Authority  is a statutory body responsible for managing and developing the 26 mile long Lee Valley Regional Park. It aims to regenerate this derelict area of land to high quality public open space and wildlife habitats as well as preserving historical value. 

What is wrong with some parts of the Lea Valley now?

Many parts of the Lea Valley are heavily polluted and used as dumping grounds. The river also used to flood often before the Thames Flood Barrier was constructed.

How will the Olympics help to improve the Lea Valley?

It has given the authority a new opportunity to continue develop the park in a faster way. It has also been given funding to the authority for the regeneration of the river and park.

What is happening to the electricity pylons in the Olympic area? Why? The Olympics will create a huge ‘carbon footprint’. What does this mean?

There are many electrical pylons in Newham in preparation of the Olympics they are being dismantled and wires are being placed underground. This is quite an expensive procedure. Many suggest the Olympics will create a huge ‘carbon footprint’, this means the Olympics will create a huge emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

What is happening to wildlife in the area? Why?

Wildlife e.g. newts are being collected and relocated onto the new site. This is to prevent any harm to wildlife in this regeneration process.

What is happening to the contaminated soil?

Soil in this area is contaminated it contains chemicals such as Mercury and cyanide. Rather than replacing the soil, the soil is being cleaned and put back onto the ground which is being landscaped. They are flattening the land to make it look natural.

What is happening to the building rubble produced?

Much of the building rubble produced is being recycled and reused. 90% of materials being used in this project are from sustainable sources e.g. they are recycled materials.

What does the term ‘legacy’ mean concerning the Olympics?

Legacy is what the Olympics leaves behind e.g. jobs, sporting facilities, new environments etc.

A  SUSTAINABLE LEGACY?

Who are ‘Streets of Growth’?

An organisation that encourage young people to create their own cohesive solutions, instead of their own socially isolating problems.

What are they trying to achieve?

They are trying to get the local community especially young people involved in the regeneration of Newham and Tower Hamlets.

What does the phrase ‘the Games will only be a lasting success if people have a chance’ mean about east London?

This means that unless you involve local people then they the so called benefits we hope to see after the Games will not be achieved because people will not care or put effort to make this happen as they feel they weren’t given a pay so why should they bother.

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