Avoiding white elephants ? : the planning and design of London's 2012 Olympic and Paralympic venues, 2002-2018 / Juliette Davis

Davis, Juliet

An issue commonly identified with the vast and costly developments that cities produce to host the Olympic Games is that they are prone to becoming 'white elephants' – obsolete or underused constructions that become cost burdens for cities. White elephants are particularly associated with some of the most recent Games of the twenty-first century, as reflected in accounts of 'limping' or obsolete venues in Sydney, Athens, Beijing, Rio and Sochi. This paper begins with a review of issues associated with spatial planning, architecture and planning process in the production of white elephants in Olympic history. It goes on to provide an historical account of London's efforts from 2002 to 2012 avoid attracting a repetition of the critique that followed earlier Olympics. Finally, it assesses its ongoing efforts and record over the six-year period from 2012 to 2018.


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