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Mega events have a huge and far-reaching influence on economic and cultural aspects of a city. Thanks to the global attention, it can bring opportunities to the host city to improve its value and show itself to the world.

Olympic Games as a mega event is also true. The host city will restore the normal state of urban social life after the Olympics, and the impact of the Olympic Games on urban development will return to the urban space itself. Many cities are facing the issues that how to deal with the site and facilities after that.

  • What happens when the game is over and the crowd is back home?
  • Gradually damaged and abandoned, or be upgraded to a new level?

The update of the London Olympics District has been a good example.

Legacy planning

Legacy planning is an integral part of the primary and ongoing strategic and master planning process as well as the implementation, which decides this difference — greatly increasing the value investing in hosting a mega international sports event.

Fig 1. Concept of Functional Division

The Lower Lea Valley covers an area of approximately 1,500 acres, running north-south from Lea Bridge Road to the River Thames, just 3 miles from central London.  It was choked with infrastructure and utilities and degraded green and blue space before Olympics.

Fig 2. Location of LLV

Planning context
  • Focusing on the construction of communities

Focus on community development and take this opportunity to re-develop existing communities and build new ones.


  • Reclaiming the rivers

Restoring the rivers, supporting the unique development of the region, and reconstructing the dynamic relationship between people and rivers and waterways.


  • Increasing density and flexibly using land


  • Reconnecting the city

Re-establishing a network of urban connections, establishing a strategic transportation infrastructure, and reconnecting different areas with little internal transportation system to provide good conditions for the development of East London.


  • Greening the City

Increase urban greening and integrate parks with other green belts in the Eastern Regional Park and the Thames region;

Use regional and topographical advantages to integrate regional characteristics, water management and environmental ecosystems;

Encourage the dynamic use of green areas, establish a complete network of green structures, merge existing open spaces, animal and plant habitats, and achieve a diverse geographical level.



Olympics heritage means everything left on the site after the games, such as structures, green spaces, water network, road system…

In my opinion, the Shanghai World Expo was vigorously built and entertained, after that, starting to wait for the demolition and then renovation.

In the new economic era, one of the spatial effects of urban competition is urban spatial reconstruction with urban functional changes. One of the important aspect is to promote the development of new urban growth space through mega event. When the mega event finishes, whether the urban development is moving forward or backward depends on the operation progress of mega events and rational and scientific planning of later operations.

When planning to build the London Olympic Park, the team sees it as a future legacy of the city, putting in a backward area called London’s Lower Lea Valley, where is one of London’s poorest area. So it can be a vast opportunity to drive the development of the surrounding area. It is a very successful step.

So we saw the natural river channel, large green areas and open spaces, high-density buildings that follow the development of the city in the design. We seem to see a new sports city with a park rising in the northeast of London.


Etropolis Commission. (2002). The impact of major events on the development of large cities[r].

Vinayak Uppal. (2006). The impact of the commonwealth games 2010 on urban development of delhi. [j]. ccs working paper, (162): 1—31.

LOWER LEA VALLEY Strategic Planning Guidance January 2007, (Accessed: 18 May 2019)



School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

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