Two interesting articles have appeared in the press recently that could be used in the classroom as up-to-the-moment examples of urban regeneration.
The first of them forms an addition to any existing case studies of regeneration associated with the London Olympics. ‘Olympicopolis’ is a proposed 1.3 billion pound project that forms part of the Olympic Legacy following the London Games of 2012. It’s aim is to create a cultural quarter that would be the envy of the rest of the world. However, it has come under heavy criticism from leading contemporary architects as being ‘boring, bleak and disjointed’.
The name of ‘Olympicopolis’ is a nod to ‘Abertopolos’ – the cluster of academic institutions close to Hyde Park, masterminded by Prince Albert. It’s plans feature facilities for the Victoria and Albert Museum, the London College of Fashion, and Sadler’s Wells, and it is projected to attract more than 1.5 million visitors a year, as well as generate £2.8 billion for the local economy. The site has already experienced a major set-back, with the Smithsonian Institute backing out of locating its first foreign outpost here.
The second article could form a nice case study or example of development of a brownfield site. It focuses on an abandoned airport in Athens, and how it is destined to be transformed into one of Europe’s biggest coastal resorts. This was formerly the only airport in Athens, and was closed to make way for a modern airport ahead of the 2004 Olympic Games. It has been derelict ever since, and is currently housing a makeshift migrant camp for 3000 refugees from the Middle East and Asia.
The main developer Lamda is backed by a Chinese conglomerate called Fosun and a number of other prospective investors, and intends to spend about 7 billion Euros on this project that includes homes, hotels, shops and new roads. The project is planned to be completed by 2020.