The London 2012 Games officially closed on Sunday evening with an amazing display of culture, music, and entertainment. In 16 days, the world watched a whirlwind of superb athletic skill and witnessed emotion that many will not likely forget. But what will the legacy of London 2012 be?
Throughout the planning phase, the Olympic Committee considered sustainability in the truest sense – meeting current needs while also planning for the future. As the website states, “our aim is for the Games to leave an amazing legacy – for the Games to be remembered not only as a summer of fantastic sport, but as the catalyst for the regeneration of one of the most underdeveloped areas of the UK.” As the first blog in our Olympics series discussed, the area of the games was transformed from a brownfield to the site of Olympic Park. And notably, Olympic Village, that formerly housed the athletes during the Games, will now be used as housing for thousands in London, including affordable housing.
We can see how sustainability surrounded the Games by looking at the 3 pillars of sustainability and the practices in London:
Social: community engagement, equality and inclusion, jobs and training
Economic: business, increase in GDP
Environmental: health and safety, new infrastructure (energy, water, transportation), and green building/environmental efforts (reduced energy use, wildlife habitat, rainwater collection, renewable energy, zero waste goal)
But the Games are over. Can the full circle recycling effort elicit a behavioral change like the Olympic Committee intended? Will those practices leave a lasting impression on residents of London and global visitors? Without a doubt, London set the bar high, accomplishing so much related to sustainability for such a massive event. The future story for London is yet to be told. Only time will tell if London will pass the sustainable torch and legacy to Rio and beyond.
Photos courtesy of