Plans to reveal yet another statue.

The Camden New Journal yesterday uncovered plans to erect a statue of Christ the Redeemer on Primrose Hill. The statue will be a tribute to the one overlooking Rio de Janeiro, to celebrate passing on the torch (pun begrudgingly intended) to Brazil for 2016.

The Brazilian government would fund the project, and a planning consultancy based in London has been employed by Brazil’s tourist agency to hold a public meeting to display the designs before applications for planning permission are submitted.

The Camden-based design company See Me, Hear Me, Feel Me did not want to discuss the plans, and the Brazilian government was unavailable for comment, but Primrose Hill Lib Dem councillor Chris Naylor said he wasn’t sure a 30ft statue of Christ with his arms outstretched was quite what the area needed.

Other statues to celebrate the Olympics have been erected around Britain, often to the displeasure of residents. The ‘Jurassic Stones’ statue, by Richard Harris, has been greeted with horror by residents of Weymouth, Dorset. The Stones’ £335,000 bill pales in comparison to the £19m spent on Anish Kapoor’s ‘ArcelorMittal Orbit’, on site in Stratford.

 

Many people question why so much money is being spent on statues to celebrate the Olympics, and whether it is appropriate in the current economic climate. The term ‘Legacy’ has always been used to describe the impact of mega-events like the Games: urban development, social, economic and cultural changes are words often thrown around in relation to the Legacy. However, the term has been re-appropriated by critics of the Games and become somewhat of a joke. The Legacy that does seem to be taking shape is symbolised in the statues cropping up around the country – abstracted, distorted, and expensive.

The real Olympic Legacy will be towering debt.

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New Olympic legacy website: London-Rio: Olympic Cities

Mega Event Cities

London-Rio: Olympic Cities

“Cities across the globe are using mega events to catalyse urban development and social, economic and cultural change. Here we present insights and analysis of these events, examining their impact upon city-building and exploring their contribution to the design and shaping of place.

Our research is policy focused and practical. Our approach is focused upon the social impacts and legacies of mega events. We use interdisciplinary analysis to discover new ways of comparing and thinking about the mega event city.

We are interested in receiving comments on the site and suggestions for relevant material or links to be placed on it. The site will be dedicated primarily to housing academic work on the social legacies of mega events, particularly those referring to London 2012 or Rio 2016. We would also welcome links to our site being placed in sites addressing similar themes.”

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LOCOG to ban cameras from the Olympics

Amateur Photographer has reported that the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is putting restrictions on the type of photographic equipment that the public will be allowed to bring to the Games, and are banning cameras from certain events altogether.

A photography enthusiast wrote to LOCOG asking if he would be allowed to bring his DSLR lens to the Stadium, and was told in an email that ‘LOCOG has yet to finalise the spectator filming and photography guidelines. As with other large sporting events there may be restrictions for spectators on the size of lenses permitted into venues.’

It is believed that certain kinds of equipment will be banned from the Games altogether, whilst no flash photography will be allowed at all in the public stands during certain events, such as shooting.

LOCOG is set to discuss its final photography guidelines at talks in the summer and in September. Once they have been finalised, the guidelines will be published on their website.

Read the full article here.

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London 2012 marathon manager quits in row with LOCOG

blue wall

Dave Bedford, the manager of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, has resigned from his post after a series of disagreements with the Olympics organising committee, LOCOG.

Bedford tendered his resignation on the 4th April, saying that the organisers were ‘inexperienced’ and had not listened to his advice. It is believed that Bedford was angered by the committee’s decision to move the marathon away from Tower Hamlets in east London to the Mall without consulting residents and over their plans to close the marathon route for a test run for ten hours on 30th May.

Over the past weeks, the press has reported a number of controversies involving LOCOG over the planning of the Olympics. In spite of this latest criticism, London Marathon have already confirmed that they will continue to work with the Committee to finalise preparations for the 2012 Olympics.

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Financial Times Reveals Welfare-to-Work Programme Chaos

OLYPHOTO - 270

The Welfare-to-Work Programme has been described as “set to fail” by Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham – the host borough for the 2012 London Olympics. In a fortnight, the winners of contracts are due to be announced, putting the unemployed and people on disability benefits back to work. However, Sir Robin believes that there is “a serious risk that some of the best prime providers may walk away”. Out of 11 bidders for the East and South London contract, 3 will be appointed in order to provide competition. Sir Robin said that he is yet to be convinced that ‘three prime contractors each delivering across 17 boroughs will do anything other than lead to confusion amongst job seekers and contractors’.

The rules the work programme has in place could themselves prevent people from taking one of the 100,000 jobs that the Olympics are meant to create. This is because providers will be paid the majority of their fee once they have managed to provide individuals with sustained work for a period of up to 2 years. However, given the short-term nature of most of the Olympic jobs on offer, the possibility of people taking jobs, becoming unemployed again and having to re-start the work programme a year later may prove discouraging.

Sir Robin believes that the government needs to ‘ensure that working in an Olympic job does not disadvantage the indivdual’ to avoid losing out on ‘the single greatest opportunity in Newham’s history to get our residents into work’.

To see the full article click Olympic jobless drive heads for ‘Chaos’

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LOCOG facing legal action over re-sale of hotel packages

The London Olympics Committee off the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is facing the prospect of legal action from a number of hotel chains in the UK, who are currently reviewing the contracts they signed offering the committee preferential prices for hotel rooms during the 2012 Olympics.

The chains allege that the rooms they offered are now being sold at inflated prices by the official London 2012 travel agent Thomas Cook. The controversy broke last week, when Thomas Cook made its prices public. The Evening Standard quotes a package for three nights at the Hyatt Regency with a face value of £1,740 being resold on for £6,499.

This is the latest in a series of criticisms levelled against LOCOG over their plans for the Games’ infrastructure, most recently over their plans for creating jobs in the communities around the 2012 Grounds. More to follow…

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Olympic promises- fingers crossed

Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium

In their bid for the games London Olympic officials promised to keep an athletics track in the stadium.

Now, during a meeting in Acapulco, British Olympic Association chief executive Andy Hunt only “hoped” the Olympic stadium would retain a running track after the games- neatly side stepping the issue of empty promises by saying the decision was down to the mysterious “Olympic Park Legacy Company”.

Two Premier League football clubs, West Ham and Spurs, have made bids to move into the Olympic Stadium after 2012, but only West Ham’s bid includes keeping the running track.

Hunt made clear his determination to honour that promise telling AP . “Of course, we would love to see the provision of a truly world class athletics track….I think we’d all be disappointed if that didn’t happen.”

Fighting talk, might as well rip up the Spurs offer then.

If the London Olympic organisers keep none of their promises to Londoners  (on jobs, on housing, on costs)  will it be an Olympic record? Or does it happen where ever the five rings descend?

One way East Londoners could economically benefit from the games would be to put money with the bookies that the stadium will be home to Tottenham in 2013. I wonder what odds they are giving.

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British Olympic Association pretends Olympic budget is for regenerating East London

Olympic chiefs are having a luxurious beano in handily located Acapulco Mexico to hear progress reports on the preparations for London 2012. British Olympic Association chief executive Andy Hunt was jubilant that the Con-Lib coalition  government had excluded the games from the recent drastic spending cuts.

Hunt told the audience that the Olympic budget of 9.28 billion pounds included “7.3 billion pounds for the regeneration of east London.”

“I think a two billion pound investment for staging the games feels about right and appropriate for what’s going to be a fantastic games.”

Why Acapulco? Well you have to travel a long way to find an audience who will believe that the London Olympic budget is being spent on anything other than the London Olympics. I dare Hunt to come here and tell East Londoners that nearly four fifths of the Olympic budget is being spent on them and only £2bn is going on the games.

Fancy a dip? Or getting your figures massaged? Or are you happy just lying on the beach?

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Olympic Organisers Back Out of Promised Air Fare For Athletes

The London Olympic 2012 Games Organisers promised £20 million in airfares to pay for the travel of athletes and officials.  They attempted to quietly withdraw from this commitment by the use of price caps and a distance formula.  Countries without direct flights to London will be out of pocket having a greater effect on poorer countries especially those from Africa and the Pacific, who like Londoners are finding out that Olympic promises are easily broken. Zimbabwe’s Olympic committee secretary general Robert Mutsauki said the African nations would hold the London organisers to their promises. Good luck!

Full Article Here.

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The Regeneration Game

DSC_0133

Khan Market , New Delhi

The signs of regeneration are all over Delhi. Billboards proclaim ‘DELHICIOUSLY YOURS’ throughout the city, and  it is. The pace of work completed between June and now are staggering – the air-conditioned metro, Delhi’s prize feature, works efficiently; lights decorate various hubs of tourist activity and promote a warm, festive atmosphere; and customs takes only ten minutes to get through, as opposed the the previous hour. These are the positive aspects of regeneration and they indicate how far India can go and how much could have been achieved minus the corruption scandals and the delays.

Walk a few metres away from all of this, however, and you are confronted again with real Delhi – unpaved streets, buildings fallen into disrepair and open sewers perfuming the air. There is no sign, however, of the customary wallahs – the newspapers are full of tales of people returning to collect suits from streetside tailors only to find they have been moved on; cigarette wallahs, barbers, fruit-sellers, as well as beggars and the homeless – all have mysteriously disappeared without trace or concern.

According to some Delhi residents affected by the migration, their maids and their families were simply told to ‘leave Delhi for twenty days’ – the duration of the Games and the days preceding and following. Those who did not comply willingly were forced; shacks burned up in inexplicable circumstances and not all dwellers were recompensed. It is an open secret in Delhi that many of the poor were herded to a large slum outside the city, but it has been made extremely difficult for activists and media workers to photograph or document it, and those living there who have tried to fight back have been effectively dissuaded.

Regeneration is a game, of course, even if its prizes do not glide by neatly on a conveyor belt, and so it follows that not everybody wins.

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