Lia Veley: London did something really cool.

aA major issue that people have with the idea of hosting the Olympics in their city is whether it will be worth it, economically. Often times, cities suffer in the years that follow their games, and the facilities that are built for the Olympics sit empty. Historically, there has only been one economically successful Olympics, the Los Angeles Olympics of 1984.

It is too soon to tell, but the 2012 London Olympics may be the next added to the list of games that ultimately benefited their host cities.

Something interesting and important that the city of London chose to do after the the games was to turn the Olympic Village into affordable housing. Innovative! The village’s transformation would provide housing in 3 different price brackets, with a 50/50 “affordable/market split. This means that at least 50 percent of the new housing would be considered affordable. For the city of London, which is one of the most expensive cities to live in in the world, affordable housing may not be dirt cheap, but it certainly makes a difference compared to the very limited options of affordable housing that were available before.

image1There were some issues when it came to getting this plan up and running. While turning the Olympic Village into affordable housing was most certainly a big selling point when London was putting in for the bid for the 2012 Games, as time rolled on, the importance of actually making the housing affordable became less of a priority.

The initiative and idea that was first put on the table to create these affordable homes for the people of London was an important step in the world of affordable housing. This concept sets a precedent for subsequent Olympic Games, because there is no reason that future host cities should not follow in the foot steps of London in the way of transforming their Olympic Village into affordable homes for the people of their city.

As for London, three years after the closing of the 2012 games the new Queen’s Park Village has provided over 3,000 new homes (and counting) and is flourishing as a new home for the citizens of East London.

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