Will the London Olympics make a difference to the local residents?

When London won the Olympic bid, the main aim of these games was to regenerate and transform the east of the city which is a deprived part of London. A 1km from the Olympic site is Hackney and this is where WHYS will be broadcasting from on Wednesday.

We will be talking to local residents like Darrell James a former gang member who is not at all optimistic “the Olympics are an event for the rest of the world but not for us”. Watch Darrell talking about it here. Others see the good and bad side of having such a big event next to them, Jim feels that it is great because he loves sports but it will bring traffic and congestion to the area, he will also be hosting us for part of the broadcast.

The other part of the programme will be coming from the Pedro Boxing Club, the club not only teaches boxing, it also serves as a youth club and community centre with choir practice, guitar and percussion and art classes, so it will be very lively. Patrick Sands who manages the Pedro Club main criticisms of the Olympics in his back yard is that not enough local people have been employed to work on the building site and there hasn’t been enough local involvement.
We will also be talking to people in other Olympic cities like Athens, Vancouver and Sydney and asking them about their experiences of having such a big event in their home and if there is an Olympic legacy.

Do send us questions you would like to ask the Hackney residents? Do you think hosting an event like the Olympics benefits a city or is it an unnecessary expense? Is there such a thing as an Olympic legacy?

41 Responses to “Will the London Olympics make a difference to the local residents?”

  1. 1 Subhash C mehta
    March 2, 2010 at 13:53

    The London Olympics (2012) should make a positive difference for the local residents; even if there’s not much of local involvement in the preparations, the games will go a long way in improving the infrastructure of the east-Londoners, which is sure to touch their lives as well.
    Olympic legacy is all about our love for this ultimate sporting event; it’s matter, deeply embedded in the competitive human spirit, to seek excellence and pride.

    • 2 Arnie
      March 2, 2010 at 17:11

      As this is the only reference to “Olympics’ that I could find on the BBC website, let me comment on the BBC’s coverage of the world’s 2010 Winter Olympics. While on a cruise ship in Antarctica, the BBC television coverage of the Canadian Olympics was nil, except for a totally negative report about crime in the area, drug use by street people, and the death of the Georgian athlete. We could find no news about the Olympic games themselves, while insignificant regional news from around the world was covered in detail.
      The BBC is no longer my favorite news source. I distrust it. Its totally negative reporting (the BBC sent reporters to the area to achieve this) of a world class event should be an embarrassment to all associated with the upcoming Summer Olympics in London. The BBC has earned the disrespect of its TV viewers.

  2. 3 T
    March 2, 2010 at 17:15

    It can if (IMO) the govt. doesn’t literally sell out to the IOC.

    The local Vancouver govt. did just that. The Canadian govt. stopped several people at the border for daring to criticize them having the Games. Why? Because (a) protest to many equals “potential terrorists”. And (b) protest equals angry sponsors which equals a loss of millions in profit.

    Is Boris Johnson going to sell out London residents rights in exchange for profit?

  3. March 2, 2010 at 19:34

    Of course the London Olympic 2012 will have more positive than negative impacts on the local residents. It is going to help create jobs for the locals. Hotels and other business will have more costumers. Many people with different culture backgrounds will converge at that point of the world thereby enriching or deversify their culture. At all cost there will be a lesson learnt from host ing such a huge population. Above all they will gain economically.

  4. 5 Alan in AZ
    March 2, 2010 at 23:03

    I’ve been thinking of moving my vacation for next year to coincide with the Olympic Games. I was thinking I could fly over from Amsterdam for a couple of days and see some events of interest to me. ( I love them all! )

    But 3 things concern me: 1-Terrorist Attacks from a Crazy Political Faction, 2 – Cost of Tickets and Staying in London, 3 – Dealing with the Populace and travel congestion. I’ve always wanted to go to the Olympics but these issues really concern me.

  5. 6 Clamdip
    March 2, 2010 at 23:41

    I thought London was broke? If they are so cash poor that they have to cut back on council services where do they come up with the money needed pay for the Olympics? What’s really going on here?

  6. 7 gary indiana
    March 3, 2010 at 02:29

    These Olympic events seem to have provided substantial monetary rewards for a small number of people, along with fairly modest, short-term benefits to the locals. However, a year or two later very few positive, local economic changes were to be seen. Thus, I not only think the London games will follow this same track; but also believe for several reasons, it would be well if it were the very last one to do so. It is time to stop an activity that offers such wealth as to prompt chemical cheating that challenges modern analytical techniques. When you see the winner, whose victory do you witness, that of the athlete or of his or her chemist? When you can’t honestly answer this question, holding the competition becomes a waste of time.

  7. 8 Bob in Queensland
    March 3, 2010 at 07:22

    Yeah. It’ll make a difference. The new transport links and parks will allow the residents to be rapidly priced out of their homes and replaced by yuppy commuters and property developers.

    March 3, 2010 at 11:29

    With a big event like London or that part of city will never be the same again – there will be change to the better side of things. There will be more jobs and business for the locals alongside rubbing shoulders with people from other cultures.

    During the games it will give them a chance to cheer home teams from close quarters and to weep when they lose. Its a chance worth having if the country can afford it.

  9. 10 Ibrahim in UK
    March 3, 2010 at 11:34

    It will give us all something to complain about… so that’s got to be a positive.

    A lot will depend on the post-event plans and who will take up management and maintenance of the Olympic facilities and how they will enrich the community. Does anyone have visibility of these plans?

  10. March 3, 2010 at 11:40

    The 2012 Olympics will certainly be a boon to London and especially the East End. I lived in the East End in the latter part of the seventies. At that time it was really depressed, run-down needing so much of redevelopment. Of course the area has grown positively in the last thirty years or so but so much needs to be done to bring it up to levels of Central and West London. The Olympics would be the ideal jump-start, opportunity to provide the necessary infrastructure to this area. East-enders are craving for better facilities and amenities. The residents need a boost: a well organised Olympics will certainly add wel needed prestige to this part of London and give new employment opportunities as well.

  11. 12 Gary Paudler
    March 3, 2010 at 15:15

    The olympics is about the grandeur of amateur sport, yeah, sure it is. It’s about big money shoveled at well-positioned developers and politicians and any pound that a Hackney resident gets is a pound that some rich guy has failed to extract from the corrupt process. And that extraction is transported into the future in the taxation time machine as cost overruns – remember when a billion pounds was real money? – that can only be called overruns if one accepts the under-cooked budget that was presented to win popular approval for hosting the games. Sure the Olympics will make a difference to local residents, probably by gentrifying parts of the hood and raising property values beyond affordability. Where’s the nearest, next-cheaper place where they can afford an apartment? Do I sound cynical?

  12. March 3, 2010 at 15:23

    Here are some questions:
    1- How has UK coped with the financial cost of preparing the sites and venues for the Olympics in view of the current economic downturn , knowing the estimated budget at first has now increased?

    2- How has security budget jumped as UK is a “favourite” of terrorist groups?

    Concerning hosting the Olympics , it can be an opportunity to get international prestige and for medallists and world-record breakers to have their names engraved in the history of the Olympics. However, it has been proved that cities hosting the Olympics remain debt-ridden to pay for the cost of staging them. So in this case why can’t Athens (from which the games originate) be a permanent place where the Olympics are held? This can drastically reduce the cost .

    Concerning the Olympics legacy, what is unacceptable is when the Olympics turn into just a commercial event and some competitors resort to doping, which contradicts its spirit, that is fair play.

  13. 14 Anthony
    March 3, 2010 at 16:38

    I’m the glad my country (U.S.A.) wasn’t the one after China. That’s like having to go on stage after Lady GaGa. You Brits need to try even harder not to look lame in comparison to China’s feat!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 15 Linda from Italy
      March 3, 2010 at 18:32

      Antony dear, Gaga indeed, if it hadn’t been so vomit-inducing and hypocritical, hope my fellow Brits will have the good taste to muddle through and rein in the kitsch-fest, but with the current mayor of London, I doubt it 😉

  14. 16 Peter Gizzi UK
    March 3, 2010 at 16:58

    Yes it will make a difference for 2 weeks then back to the grind. How long will we be paying for it? I feel the only people who will benefit are the investors and developers along of course with their political friends.

    Stratford International the train station for The Olympics is at present in the middle of a gigantic building site. Very inspiring. Just another white elephant in the making. Why don’t The BBC take some pictures there? Temple Mills appeared to have a “bird’s nest” under construction? What it’s for I’ve no idea?

    During The Olympics our new local High Speed trains will be taken to London to serve The Olympics. Very handy for anyone who uses them regularly.

  15. 17 Peter Gizzi UK
    March 3, 2010 at 17:01

    Sorry just noticed you’ve headed this article with a picture of The Bird’s nest.

  16. 18 nora
    March 3, 2010 at 17:51

    The Los Angeles Olympics left us with debt. So many locals left the area due to dire warnings about traffic, etc. that many events were undersold. All the connected, wealthy people came to town, the locals got hassled for printing unauthorized t-shirts and hats, and local outdoorsmen were rounded up and confined for the duration.

    Since the police in L.A. love any excuse to treat the locals like a threat and and also love that overtime, I guess the people it worked out for were cops and wealthy tourists.

  17. 19 Linda from Italy
    March 3, 2010 at 18:43

    As a Londoner in exile I just hope some good will come of it for the local community, although as a normally cynical Brit I’m not holding my breath.
    I’ve seen the gentrification of various parts of London over the space of the 20+ years I lived there, and all it does is destroy diversity and make these areas deserts on weekends and holidays like Christmas, because all the young rich young things only live where they do for work reasons, they socialise in the City or West End, and see their property only as an investment that NEVER falls in value over the long term. They have no wish to join in and become part of a local community, as they bog off to country piles whenever they can.
    Best of luck to all in East London I hope the powers that be give you back those football pitches on the marshes, about to be destroyed to make a car park of all things – why cars in London for God’s sake?
    Love from Linda now from Italy, once from Shepherd’s Bush, via Pimlico.

  18. 20 Clamdip
    March 3, 2010 at 18:56

    I guess all the money pouring in to build these massive structures must be organized crime because no one else but them have the money to afford it.

  19. 21 Andrew in Australia
    March 3, 2010 at 19:02

    Sure, if the local residents are developers, politicians or IOC members. They are the ones who benefit as the trough fills up. The rest of the world are only there to fund the process.

  20. March 3, 2010 at 19:09

    already it’s making waves;who’s going to buy the stadium when they’re done with it

  21. 23 amy in cleveland
    March 3, 2010 at 19:14

    I was just in London and was amazed at how many cranes I could see across the skyline. I live in Cleveland, Ohio and we have been economically devastated. To us, cranes mean economic development which means jobs. I would love to see that type of economic development in my own town!!

  22. 24 steve
    March 3, 2010 at 19:15

    I would never want the Olympics here in DC. The traffic is already a nightmare, with the Olympics, the city would come to a standstill. Will London be the same way?

  23. 25 steve
    March 3, 2010 at 19:17

    I believe it took Montreal 30 years to pay off the 1976 olympics…

  24. 26 steve
    March 3, 2010 at 19:21

    Oh, to the Canadian guests, please take Sidney Crosby back to Canada with you. But of course after the Caps beat the pants off the Penguins. The USA is now a Sidney Crosby free zone.

  25. 27 Alan in AZ
    March 3, 2010 at 19:24

    If I lived in that area I would be concerned about the negative impact that the London Olympic Logo will have. I might be wrong, but I read yesterday that the London Olympic Organizers paid 40,000 pounds to have Wolff Olins come up with that design. It looks like a hideous trow back to the early 80’s and whats worse the 2’s don’t match. It’s hard to read and I believe 89% of Londoners polled hated it. Here is the link I read some comments about.


  26. 28 patti in cape coral
    March 3, 2010 at 19:29

    I remember a British comedian, his name escapes me, saying that the London Olympics won’t be anywhere the show that the Chinese put on because they simply couldn’t muster the discipline of a totalitarian regime! :0)

    I don’t think it will make a difference to the local residents in the long run, the richer get richer, etc., but I would be happy to be wrong. The only time I ever enjoyed the Olympics was when I was a child and didn’t understand the economics and politics that goes into such a big production.

  27. 29 steve
    March 3, 2010 at 19:29

    Isn’t the Olympics going to take place in Brazil? They have a super serious crime rate there and the games are there in 2016.

    LA has lots of crime, way more than London, and they held the Olympics in 1984.

    There’s no way that this part of London is worse than Washington, DC, would people not pick DC because of the crime in DC?

  28. 30 Jerry in GA, USA
    March 3, 2010 at 19:29

    Downtown Atlanta, was a terribly blighted area before the 1996 Olympics. There was a hub for crime and homeless people.

    However, the Olympics took alot of the blight out of downtown Atlanta — it got the homeless out of the area, and ever since 1996, development has soared and Atlanta is now known as truly an international city.

    Unfortunately, there was not good transportation planning, and Atlanta still has traffic issues, especially during morning and evening rush hours.

    • 31 patti in cape coral
      March 3, 2010 at 19:58

      It got the homeless out of the area? Do you mean it got them into homes, or they were moved somewhere else?

  29. 32 Margaret
    March 3, 2010 at 19:36

    I hope the 2012 Olympics will be as exciting for folks as the 1948 were for me. I was 23 at the time and it was only 3 yrs after the end of the war. I had little money to buy tickets to events but one day as I was stopped at a traffic light on my bike, a double decker bus full of athletes stopped and asked me how to get to Wembley Stadium, the games site. It was about four miles away but if you know London streets especially then it was too complicated to describe so I said “Follow me ” and off I went on my hand built Claud Butler with the bus behind me. When the stadium was in sight I pointed the way to the cheering driver and athletes.

  30. 33 steve
    March 3, 2010 at 19:49

    Could the Olympics be compared with the redevelopment of the Docklands? I heard that area was really bad before it got redeveloped and that office district moved. Would that be a realistic and desired result of the Olympics?

  31. 34 Alan in AZ
    March 3, 2010 at 19:51

    They should take some funds for development and ( even for a short period ) employee locals to pick up trash in the canal Ros referenced and other task to improve the area. Put some funds directly into the locals pockets now!

  32. 35 steve
    March 3, 2010 at 19:58

    In the US, you are called a racist if you have an issue with illegal immigrants taking jobs, especially in construction, let alone legal immigrants, like your guests are complaining about.

  33. 36 rowan
    March 3, 2010 at 19:58

    great show! lively 🙂

  34. March 3, 2010 at 20:07

    Great show and a very well balanced discussion!

    As a New Yorker, (living in Brooklyn) I will be keen to see how the Olympics impact the city and specifically how the benefits are fairly allocated to those who are immediately impacted by all the changes. (i.e. low – middle income minority families in Hackney)

    Finally, the women singing at the end of the show, phenomenal !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…I so love the soulful sounds of british women singing classic Motown tunes… (Who were they ? Do they have a facebook / myspace / site , etc)



  35. 38 Clamdip
    March 3, 2010 at 21:45

    Where is the money coming from ? Does no one care about this simple, but important fact? The money may revitalize the area but its dirty money or it doesn’t matter where the money comes from so long as someone gets a piece of the action!

  36. 39 Clamdip
    March 3, 2010 at 23:29

    Thank You Andrew from Australia,
    At least on that point both of us agree. Is this business as usual or does anyone really care where the money is coming from to fund these large scale, Olympian projects?

  37. 40 Dennis Junior
    March 4, 2010 at 05:52

    No, the Olympics in London will not make a difference to local residents in the long-term since….Most of the buildings will be not be suitable for any other uses than the Olympics.


  38. 41 Andrew in Australia
    March 4, 2010 at 14:15

    The Millenium Dome was a great success right?

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