Urban regeneration: the attempt to reverse urban decline by both improving the physical structure, and, more importantly and elusively, the economy of those areas. In all regeneration programmes, public money is used as an attempt to pump prime private investment into an area.

Why are sporting events often successful ways to make sure urban regeneration takes place?


urban regeneration in east london





Reasons why London 2012 was not successful for urban regeneration:

Reasons why London 2012 was successful for urban regeneration:

  • Many jobs were temporary
  • Unemployment went up in some boroughs during games
  • New housing too expensive for poorer people of Newham
  • Too early to see if there has been any long-term economic/social benefit
  • £9 billion of investment - most into public transport
  • New train station: Stratford International, direct trains to Paris
  • 2 new underground lines
  • One new line on Docklands Light Railway (DLR)
  • Olympic Village > East Village housing 
  • Housing for 8000 people. 40% affordable housing
  • New school - Chobham Academy
  • Media Centre > Data centre and tech startup hub

extension task

Events and Urban Regeneration: London 2012


exam practice

“Sport and recreation are an effective means of regeneration for urban areas.” Discuss this statement. [10 marks]


Candidates may agree or disagree with this statement.

Barcelona and Beijing are often given as good examples of how sport can help regenerate a city.

The London 2012 Olympics is considered to be a major success in the regeneration of London’s East End whereas Atlanta and Athens may be examples of where sport has had less success.

Other methods could be discussed, such as property-led regeneration, new retail developments, urban development corporations, provided they are legitimate spin-off effects from the initial investment in sport rather than entirely alternate strategies.

The effectiveness of some strategies may only be evident over the long-term, and it may not be possible to assess “effectiveness” in the case of recent case studies such as the 2012 London Olympics.

Different groups may have differing perspectives on whether the changes are “effective” for them or others, eg those displaced by gentrification or those who do not like the noisy visitors that sport can attract.

At band D, responses are likely to be descriptive and might only consider one side of the argument.

At band E, expect either a wider range of more detailed impacts of sports/recreation regeneration for urban areas or some more explicit discussion of effectiveness.

At band F, expect both.