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Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: Environmental Case Study

Instructor: Jennifer Perone

Ms. Perone has taught College Engineering, Ethics, Psychology, Perception, Statistics, Experimental Design & Analysis, Physics and secondary STEM topics for more than 15 years!

This is a case study for the best practices use of an Olympic infrastructure post games-time. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is an exemplary example of how Olympic infrastructure expenditures can become an investment for the betterment of all aspects of life. NOTE: This is a case study report completed by an American, so spelling is American standard instead of British standard.

Case Study: The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

QEOP Logo

What happens to old Olympic stadiums, venues and villages? Most are retired to the dustbin of history, becoming expensive museum pieces to the glory of past Olympic Games. What if we could transform those spaces and the public funds used for the Olympics to something more? What if we could use the world stage provided by the Olympics to show these facilities can be efficiently and cost-effectively transformed into a sustainable space that provides the best of green technology, honoring the history of the Olympics while bringing the world into a sustainable future?

QEOP Aquatics Center with more than 40 skylights!

ArceleratorMittal Orbit Sculpture, which contains a slide, is the tallest sculpture in the world at 178 meters. QEOP attractions!

History of the QEOP

Beginning in 2005, when London learned they would be hosting the 2012 Games, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) undertook the Herculean effort of preparing this East London site for the 2012 Olympics. They promised the most sustainable Olympic Games in history, and used the power of the world stage to make a difference lasting far beyond the 2012 Games.

Map of QEOP

Preparing the site required the demolition of existing structures, soil decontamination, installation of new infrastructure (basic structures and facilities necessary for the operation of an enterprise), and moving all utility cables from overhead to underground. Industrial, contaminated land became a flourishing new urban park in one of Europe's largest regeneration projects. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is now a renewable, vibrant and sustainable oasis.

Facts and Figures

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park consists of 580 acres situated on the site of the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in East London. The park is owned by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), and they are making excellent progress toward creating a new heart of East London. The LLDC took over management of the park in 2016 and endeavors to create a fully sustainable park by 2030.

The park currently boasts 6.5 km of waterways, 15 acres of conservation green space, and 4,300 new trees. It offers sustainable living, and also cultural and theme-park entertainment. The QEOP employed more than 5,000 people (30 percent local) for its transformation, and produced 60 apprentices. By 2025, it is expected more than 15,000 jobs will be created in the park.

The point of the QEOP is to provide a desirable, sustainable, healthy and safe place to live. It offers varied activities, community activities and a wide variety of living situations, cultural diversity, and a space that has something for everyone.

The Creeping Costs of the Olympic Games

The 2012 Olympic Games in London were the costliest in history, at $14.8 billion USD. By comparison, the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio were estimated to be $6.2 billion.

It cost an estimated £700 million GBP to construct the Olympic Stadium in London. There were arguments over how much public money was put into the Olympic Park. However, the fulfillment of almost a dozen years of planning that has revitalized an area once an industrial wasteland makes that public expenditure an investment.

The LLDC has set an exemplary example of how to use public funds in a way that allows for the construction of all accoutrements of the Olympic Games, then reapplying all of those materials, funds and structures. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has places for everyone to live, work and play. It offers a vision of how areas could be constructed from games-time facilities into a permanent sustainable community.

The transformative nature of the design over a 25-year plan, beginning in 2005 and spanning to 2030, is awe-inspiring. Walkways and green spaces (areas of vegetation set apart for specific purposes in an urban environment) allowing for breakout sessions and public spaces during the games have been transformed into streets that provide the park with a high-quality network of paths that are safe, contemporary and sophisticated. People walk and cycle around the area, use public transportation to access work, home, and a multitude of community activities promoting culture, local businesses, conservation (preservation and restoration of the natural environment), green spaces, biodiversity (a large and varied supply of organisms in an ecosystem) and human diversity.

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