The Geography of the Olympics

The London 2012 Olympics has had a massive effect on the world, in particular the UK. Geographically speaking the Olympic park is located in Stratford, East London. The Olympics is obviously a huge financial outlay, but it is not just for the 2 weeks of the games. Urban regeneration: The Stratford area was previously a under developed and unpleasant area of London. Due to the Olympics the ?4 billion urban regeneration of the 73 hectares of land within the M25 has been started, with Stratford at its heart. The new facilities will include over 100 shops, leisure facilities, hotels and schools.

One area of Stratford is currently being developed to be the most significant business district since Canary Wharf, this is planned to provide space for up to 30’000 workers. Stratford’s residents have also benefitted from the athlete’s village, the poor standard of the previous housing has led to their demolition and residents will now be able to access the former athlete’s village as part of an affordable/social housing scheme.

The inclusion of 11’000 new homes in the Olympic park area will provide what Boris Johnson dubbed “the most important urban regeneration project in the next 25 years. It was perhaps most needed in this area of London as it had one of the lowest GDP’s in Britain with unemployment peaking at 20% after the demise of what were once the world’s largest docks. The area was very undesirable and often dubbed stinky Stratford because of the slaughterhouses and noxious industries that operated there. A consequence of all this was the housing, before the Olympics it consisted of post-world war prefabs. (Sources: Gaurdian. co. uk/Live discussion- regeneration/ July 2012 & London2012. com/ Regeneration games/November 2011)

Transport: With 204 countries competing in the 2012 and over 11 million tickets on sale, people from all around the globe will be travelling to see Olympic events. This influx of people needs significant public transport and a superb infrastructure in order to run smoothly. International arrivals/departures by plane relied on the continuous operation of major airports around the world and the transport links directly to major areas of London in particular, Stratford. This was facilitated by regular trains and buses running between the locations.

Since the London 2012 games, Stratford train station has become the third largest station in the UK for the number of trains stopping there. The People: As well as including thousands of people from around the world the Olympics also managed to attract all age groups from young children to pensioners. This sets the Olympics apart from other events; the ability to include such a vast age range is incredibly hard it is event such as the Olympics that enable such a large demographic to come together.

For the first time in Olympic history there was a female team member from each of the competing countries, this was a particular change for Saudi Arabia who let two women into the team this year in contrast to none in its Olympic history. The Finances: In the background of the photo it is clear to see the large steel structure. This was donated by Lakshmi Mittal, the owner of ArcelorMittal which is the world’s leading integrated steel and mining company. The tower is named the ‘Orbit’ and is located in Orbit Circus to the East of the Olympic Stadium.

Mr Mittal has long been a supporter of the Olympics, setting up a trust for aspiring Indian athletes after Indian won only one medal in the 2000 Olympics. Despite being of Indian origin he decided to fund the project in the UK, this clearly demonstrates a sense of globalisation as financial support came from philanthropists all over the world. The economic effects of the Olympics have also been demonstrated by many large corporations, such as Whitbread, the group including Premier Inn, 4 restaurant chains and Costa Coffee.

They revealed that sales had pushed Whitbread to the top of the FTSE 100 risers, up 106p to ?22. 05. An average increase of around 5% across the group. Furthermore the construction of the Olympic sites has created 46’000 jobs, much of the workforce sourced locally to retain the financial benefits within the local area. Moreover the active encouragement of a healthy lifestyle generated by the Olympics has a significant impact upon the attitudes viewers have about sport and their health.

Theoretically the long term effects of the Olympics could mean the government saves money in areas such as health care treatments associated with obesity and unhealthy living. This in turn would enable a higher proportion of taxes to be spent on further urban regeneration or other public interests. (Sources: Gaurdian. co. uk/Live discussion- regeneration/ July 2012 & Whitbread PLC/ Trading Update/ September 2012) The Economic benefits of the Olympics were hyped up to an un-believable level by some sources, figures circulated at around ?3. Billion from respected organizations such as Visa. This would have meant a 3. 5% rise in the UK’s overall economic output annually. It was also expected that between 2013-2015, all the UK regions would benefit financially totaling 2. 74 Billion in extra money spent by visitors. When broken down into sectors, the High street retailers were expected to gain the most totaling ?705 million, surprisingly the transport sector faired as the lowest earner totaling just ?81 million.

Therefore Visa came to the conclusion that the total ‘economic legacy’ would be ?5. 3 Billion by 2015. However, now the main Olympic Games have come to an end analysts, are broadcasting a contrasting opinions based on the financial figures from the games. The more realistic increase in the nation’s output for 2012 is likely to be around 1%, less than a third of the original predictions for the Olympics alone. This 1% would also include the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee which was estimated to have increase output by 0. 4% along with the 0. 1% of growth gained from ticket sales (doesn’t count as the Olympic effect) to a total of 0. %. So, even without the Olympic effect, output should increase by 0. 5% between the second and third quarters. For the economy to register even zero growth in 2012 as a whole output needs to rise by 1% this quarter and remain at that level in the final quarter. Several major think-tank’s and The Bank of England have cut their UK growth predictions to between 0% and -0. 7% after disappointing Olympic revenue. (Source: Visa Europe/Economic impact report/ July 2011 & Guardian. co. uk/Olympics-why the British economy isn’t a winner/August 2012)

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