Fish 'n' freedom fries
On regeneration and other London Olympic myths
In July 2006, London rejoiced at winning the bid to the Olympic Games in 2012. But who is really doing the rejoicing? Urban planners, certainly, who have carte blanche to carry through a programme of urban reconstruction otherwise beyond their wildest hopes and dreams. In London, Olympic visions tie in nicely with existing policies of regeneration. Made palatable by catchphrases such as “mixed tenure” and “social diversity”, regeneration is effectively a policy of interference with existing social structures. And as documentary filmmaker Mark Saunders describes, in east London, the structures being replaced are precisely those that do not coincide with the private interests behind London’s Olympic bid.