Legacy Planning for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

HR&A advised on the development and implementation framework for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to secure the economic and community legacy of the 2012 London Games.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company, the quasi-governmental organization established to oversee the development and operation of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, invited HR&A to advise on key elements of a new implementation framework that would transform the 2012 Olympic grounds into a network of parks, recreation facilities, and small residential neighborhoods along the River Lea in East London. The Legacy Company sought to create a development framework that would deliver social, economic, and environmental benefits by catalyzing private investment, amenitizing the surrounding areas, and attracting diverse groups of visitors.

The master plan for the Olympic grounds organized five new neighborhoods with two signature parks, 6,000 units of housing, two miles of naturalized waterways, and a system of connections and neighborhood commons that include sporting venues, commercial space, and cultural amenities. Focusing on the 250 acres of parklands, HR&A analyzed best practices for development and activation of post-industrial and post-Olympic landscapes, and emphasized the ability of the parkland’s development parcels to drive property values.

 

After reviewing the Legacy Company’s previous framework and business plan for the proposed parks, HR&A assessed capital, operations, and management requirements, and identified the financial and organizational resources needed to build and sustain a dynamic park system on the former Olympic grounds. The firm helped develop new capital and operating budgets in-line with recommended strategies to ensure the landscape’s transformation into world-class park system, complete with a dedicated programming and stewardship framework to activate, manage, and maintain the public realm.

 

The Legacy Company incorporated HR&A’s recommendations to adopt a new perspective on the role of public-realm investment for successful real estate development. The Legacy Company restructured its budget and launched two design competitions, which resulted in award-winning parks and plazas designed by James Corner Field Operations and London-based Erect Architecture. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has received over 4.5 million visitors since its 2013 opening, and recently secured funding to develop a new culture and education quarter comprised of university campuses, additional space for the Victoria and Albert museum, and a 600-seat theatre.

Awards

2013 Mayor's Award for Planning Excellence, London Planning Awards

Image Credit: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park