More than 11,000 new homes will be built on the site of the Olympic Park in what London mayor Boris Johnson has described as “the most important regeneration project for the next 25 years”.
The 202-hectare (500-acre) site will be handed over to the Olympic Park Legacy Company after the Games and work will begin work on the area’s transformation. When it re-opens in 2013, 40% of the properties will be family homes with three or four bedrooms, and 35% will be reserved for affordable housing.
Demand for the properties is high. The waiting list for subsidised housing in the East Village is already oversubscribed, according to Triathlon Homes, the housing association which will manage 1,379 homes in the new community.
Despite optimism in London, British urban renegeration projects have a chequered history. Though some have reinvigorated neighbourhoods in decline, others have only succeeded in making a bad situations worse.
The Commonwealth Games provided the opportunity for the regeneration of east Manchester which saw the construction of almost 5,000 new homes and the renovation of more than 6,000 existing properties – resulting in a 400% increase in local house prices.
Yet elsewhere in Manchester, and across the north of England and the Midlands, the government’s decision to axe the housing market renewal project four years early has left a trail of boarded-up ghost towns instead of the regenerated communities originally planned.
Just a few miles away from the Olympic site rise the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, another of London’s major urban regeneration areas and the subject of an ongoing, heated debate over its impact on east Londoners.
So what are the crucial ingredients