Convergence


The Legacy's key objective was defined by a single word - convergence. A technical term meaning to converge the city, to even out the economic imbalance between east London, very specifically the communities who hosted the London Olympic 2012 Games, and the rest of London within 20 years.

 

The scale of disruption and inconvenience for communities who lived around the Olympic areas was underestimated: "the idea of community has been in a state of stress since we won the games" said one community worker. A lot of it was due to the unaccounted practical implications along with the undesirable logistics of trying to host the Olympic Games in a congested inner-city environment.
'We were happy when we won it but then there was nothing in it for us'.
The Olympic Games themselves came and went, and community neighbourhoods saw little traffic or footfall during the games, which was funnelled through the Westfields Shopping mall. Community felt excluded, fenced off by security concerns even from its own spaces.

 

Vesta House East Village / Olympic Village

After the Olympics, community in the Legacy plans found itself in a maze of development corporations, Enterprise zones, Opportunity Areas and Strategic plans each with their programme of community consultations. Over 2 years following them at community centres around the Olympic boroughs formed a sort of Legacy trail, an underbelly to the Legacy corporation.

 


Legacy boroughs community meetings beyond LLDC consultations 2012-13

 

Community support was key to winning the 2012 Olympic bid in 2006. At the end of the Games, at a community level there was little antagonism to the Games per se but a patient expectation of what would come after it; matching promises with reality. But that always depended on if and how community had the means to contribute, to conceive a Legacy Community as an instrument of policy with the same weight as a Legacy Corporation.