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Concept of event legacy and 2012 UK Olympic

Discuss about the Planning and Evaluating Event Legacy.

Depending on the pattern of events, the idea of legacy can be diversified. In the context of the sport events, the legacies can be identified as the economic, social, civic or urban regeneration effects on the stakeholders by the planning, funding, building and staging of that particular event.

In this report, the author has chosen the mega event of Olympic of 2012 that took place in London, UK. Being a magnificent sport event of the world, it had a long term event legacy on its stakeholders. The author has evaluated the event legacy of 2012 London Olympic. He has divided the report in five different but interrelated parts. In the beginning, the author has described the concepts related to the event legacy in reference to the 2012 London Olympic. Then he has provided a brief discussion over the legacy effects of 2012 London Olympic. In the next part, the author has discussed about the type of the legacy in reference to the selected event. Then, he has described the major challenges and limitations of the legacy approach related to the 2012 London Olympic which can be a lesion to the event management officials or other stakeholders of an event. Finally, the author has concluded the report, with a summary of the whole discussion.

The idea of event legacy can be identified as the after effect of major events (the benefits or the loses) upon the stakeholders of that event, especially the host city or the local community. As mentioned by Packer et al. (2015) the idea of legacy planning or event legacy is largely connected to the mega sports events. In this report, the chosen event is the London Olympic of 2012.

The national and international events essentially include a number of planning issues. As discussed by Davies and Mackenzie (2014) from logistics to costs, the legacy planning needs be managed in a such a manner, so that it becomes able to create the highest level of positive legacy effect and minimal negative legacy effect. In the sector of event planning and management, event legacy is largely the effect of the event which can sustain longer than the event itself. As mentioned by Weed (2014) the legacy cube suggests that the legacy effect can be planned, unplanned, negative, positive, tangible and intangible too. On the other hand, as mentioned by Giulianotti et al. (2015) the stakeholders of a certain event can be identified as the units like national government, local political figures, organizing committees, national population, environmentalists, both the wealthy and socially deprived population of the  host country, local industries and many more. Thus, it can be noted that the legacy effect of an event can be multi dimensional.

Legacy effects of 2012 UK Olympic

Here in the case of the 2012 London Olympic, it can be identified a as historical sport event that is arranged every four year with more than 200 countries participating. In 2012, the event was arranged in London, UK with the participation of 204 countries. It created a long term economic, sporting, and social and regeneration effects.

As mentioned earlier, the legacy effects can be positive, negative, long and short term, tangible and intangible. As discussed by Boykoff and Fussey (2014) depending on the legacy types, the legacy effects may vary. In most of the sport legacies, the short term effects include increased opportunity of entertainment, social meetings, and great international exposures to the stakeholders, increased employment skills, increased tourism flow and many more. On the other hand, as opined by Mackintosh et al. (2015) the long term effects of a major sport legacy can create the long term effects like increased brand image of the host country or city, change in the knowledge and skill base of the human resource of the country, creation of national pride and many more. In addition to this, there are a number of negative impacts those cannot be ignored and eliminated fully by the stakeholders. The effects and regeneration can be varied and diversified for different stake holders.

As discussed by Mahtani et al. (2013) the idea of regeneration legacy can be identified as a long term effect of an event. According to Bell and Gallimore (2015) regeneration is a “inclusive and integrated aspiration and action that leads to the resolve of many urban issues and that is able to bring about a long-term improvement in the financial, physical, societal and environmental circumstances of a country.

In the context of 2012 London Olympic the following legacy effects can be identified:

As mentioned by Bell and Gallimore (2015) the empirical evidences show that the hosting of the 2012 London Olympic has increased the employments in the country. From the job opportunities on the site to other supporting industries like restaurants, transport, hotels and many other huge level of employment opportunity arose. As mentioned by Fussey, Coaffee and Hobbs (2016) with the scopes of volunteering to temporary employment opportunities, the 2012 London Olympic has increased the skill set, self esteem and aspiration of the population of the country. The economically deprived population got an opportunity for employment that was a boost for their self image. Thus, with an increased job opportunity, the economy attended a significant growth. Moreover, as mentioned by Bell and Gallimore (2015) the international exposure to the country increased the trade with a large number of customers. as mentioned by Fussey, Coaffee and Hobbs (2016) “the legacy effect of 2012 London Olympic reveals that the UK economy has experienced a trade and commerce improvement of more than £14 billion (USD 23.8 billion) during and after the 2012 London Olympic – defeating the four-year objective of £11 billion (USD 18.7 billion), “in half the time – with the UK businesses securing agreement wins”, added sales and increased foreign investment in the following two years of the 2012 London Olympic.

Positive effects

Moreover, in the context of the tourism opportunities, the 2012 London Olympic increased the brand image of the country and the Olympic Park got an extra level of tourist attraction. As mentioned by Gold and Gold (2015) since the 2012 London Olympic, Britain experienced increase in the number of international visitors which is more than 33 million in 2013. On the other hand, in the sporting context, Mahtani et al. (2013) have identified that the school sports participation has been increased.

In the long term effect, the knowledge increase in the construction sector can also be identified as a significant legacy effect. Moreover, as mentioned by Watt (2013) more than 2800 homes was made after the conversion of the “Athletes’ Village” into a housing complex. It provided job opportunity and knowledge base to the construction workers.

In the infrastructural sector, the 2012 London Olympic left London with transport legacies like the DLR extension. The use of the “Olympic Javelin” bullet trains was there till 2015 and it directed to the up gradation of some stations. Moreover, the Olympic park has been used in some other prestigious events.

As mentioned by Giulianotti et al. (2015) the empirical evidences essentially show that there were a great number of unjust displacements associated to the 2012 London Olympic. Many scholars have identified that, the focus of the regeneration or structural changes was typically upon the businesses and not on the social issues. According to many scholars the government paid due concentration over the issues related to the displacements of the neighbouring societies of the Olympic park. It has made the governmental focus mainly on the economic issues than the civil demands.

In the sector of regeneration the national government had the regeneration aspiration of transforming the heart of East London. As mentioned by the governmental sources, the national authority identified the regeneration framework as following:

  • Creation of a coherent and high quality attractive city within the world city region (Watt 2013)
  • Reducing unemployment
  • Improved housing management
  • Maximising the sports legacy and others.

With the increased housing settlement, huge job opportunities (though most of them were on the temporary basis), increased infrastructure, improved trade and tourism opportunities, increased level of sport participation in the schools, the 2012 London Olympic has provided a sustainable urban regeneration to Britain.

Several researchers have tried to categorize the various types of legacies, especially in a huge sports event like Olympics. Some gains can be seen before and during the event, but some might be seen years after the ending of the game. Packer et al. (2015) states that, tangible legacies include the urban and sporting legacies, which enhance the appeal of the host city and develops the urban regeneration, whereas intangible ones are not apparently visible. It might be related to enhanced work skills of common people, or the spirit among the population of the host city. Generally Olympic legacies fall into five categories – Sporting, Economic, Social, Urban and Environmental (Mackintosh et al. 2015). The UK Olympics 2012 came with five legacy promises considering the long term benefits of the game, such as making UK the leading sporting nation of the world, to inspire the young generation, transforming the heart of East London, making the Olympic park with a design of sustainable usages, and making UK a welcoming place for visitation and business (Bretherton, Piggin and Bodet 2016).

Negative effects

The sports legacy is related with the practical value that the sporting events bring to the city or the country. Most of the venues of Olympic Games have been converted for other substitutes after the game is finished. The UK Olympics had begun in around two year’s time. The government has used the 2008 plan to claim the benefits of hosting the Olympics in UK and promises to make it a leading sporting nation in the world. According to Thompson et al. (2015), the Department of Culture, Media and Sport shows the way on getting more visitors through the sports, and the Sport England, which is the government agency accountable for community sports, worked hard to get around one million adults to take part in sports on a regular basis.

It was the economic boost for several inland areas which keep struggling to keep the pace with the resourceful affluent coastal areas. There were important economic gains regarding the infrastructure and several new job positions were opened increasing the economic activities. The construction of the ne Olympic Park had employed around 30000 workers, with 7% of unemployed ones before the Olympic Games (Raco 2014). The way East End of the city transformed, it was expected to become a major economic channel in future. The other newly built construction projects such as the International Broadcast Centre, buildings transformed into commercial usages had brought many opportunities to the local population and provided them more commercial service space.

The UK 2012 Olympic was the finale to the four year long cultural Olympiad and showcased the huge cultural heritage of Great Britain in the twelve week long cultural event featuring approximately 25000 artists all over the world (Giulianotti et al. 2015). Education has always been the integral part of the social legacy and provided a stage to teach the Olympics values. Over 80% schools of the country had taken part in the host activities of the fames being motivated through the morals and sports.

Environmental legacy is the creation of green spaces around the venues for the satisfaction of the community. UK has used the Olympics Games 2012 as a chance for transforming a former industrial landsite into parklands and created the largest urban park in Europe. After the games the park continued to offer habitat comprising of the wetland areas and grasslands. The hosting also led the introduction of more environment friendly public transport systems and energy sources. Sustainability is always the major key of consideration during the project design and the infrastructure of the venues of the games. The games have shown sustainable practices of the public awareness of the environment and greater policies.

Urban regeneration

In preparations of UK Olympics 2012, London had les to regenerate the largest urban project in Europe with the Olympic Park in one of the deprived areas of the host city (Mahtani et al. 2013). After the Games got over, the newly built sports amenities were adopted by the sports local communities or the sports clubs. Bell and Gallimore (2015) states that, even the Olympic Village has transformed in around 2800 homes along with the transport developments linking the main city with the other parts of the country. The transport infrastructure has been improved in the host cities and the other networks as well. The investments have lead to the expansion of the main roads and other means of connecting to the host cities.

Delivering the legacy approaches involve a huge range of actions. Several researchers have found out interventions in maintaining the legacy approaches and faced some difficult challenges. There are many technological modifications that weaken the business value of the legacy system (Nichols and Ralston 2015). The host country always struggles with the issues of modernization of amenities while they try to keep the functionality undamaged. There are three inevitable split of the Olympic Games for the host city, first one is the leading up period when millions of dollars get invested into the new infrastructure and other facilities (Bauman, Murphy and Matsudo 2013). The second one comes during the event and the final stage comes after the game, which is the longest period. It is when the games have passed and the athletes and the visitors have returned home (Lockstone-Binney et al. 2016). This is the period which determines whether the country had made financial benefits out of the event or did not. There are several critical factors that can challenge the success factor of the event. Delivering the legacy was a major undertaking of the government departments and the local authorities. A vast range of individuals were involved in the procedure of making the event successful while all the job opportunities were temporary. Those were generated only because of the event giving rise to complicated arrangements of the further proceedings. In the long term nature any legacy programme need a sustainable commitment and idea. The regeneration of East London had struggled because of the political changes. There were cross party compromise concerning the hosting of the Games. Sustained cooperation was required for the successful preparation which was sometimes lacking (Smith et al. 2016). There were few displacement issues in conducting the event; many were removed from their habitats for the future changes and construction issue. These were some inevitable policies that were adopted but became unproductive for the local population. There was construction issues before the event and the Olympic park were uncertain despite the funding of 1 billion euro. The speed and innovative ideas were significant while the procedure was going on, but that turned into rolling out other projects swiftly.


The outcome of the Olympic Games was the crucial moment in the history of the country while providing unique opportunities and positive changes in the local community despite facing several challenges and limitations during the event (Bernstock 2014). The bid cities had emphasized the legacies while the hosting of the event and promoted positive legacies. While the displacement and political issues have created crucial ups and downs in the course of the event, the city has welcomed the athletes and visitors unconditionally. However, the positive changes and the legacies did not happen automatically and needed careful planning and embedment of the vision of the host city. Delivering the strong legacies has always demanded strong partnership between the leaders of the city, organizers and the members of the Olympic organization committee (Cunningham 2014). However the IOC worked hard to help the organizers, applicants and the volunteers coming all over the country. Considering the fact that all the cities are different, the IOC encouraged everyone to reflect their own goal and have the shared commitment towards the financial benefits of the country (Williams and Carter  2014). Several examples show that the host cities were able to be benefitted by staging the games in two ways, as the successful sporting events and as a catalyst for improvement of the country.


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