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Planning & Development

The Convergence framework

This text first appeared in an assessed essay submitted in February 2013. To the author’s chagrin, the essay (strangled by a 2,000 word limit) barely scraped a pass, but here’s the useful information about the Convergence framework itself. Links/attachments below.


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Regeneration and Well-Being in East London: Stories from Carpenters Estate

The report makes unsettling reading. It highlights how residents’ well-being across a number of key dimensions (housing, livelihoods and participation) has been undermined by the protracted and ongoing regeneration process itself.


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the budget just went up?

Vision for Victoria Embankment cycle superhighway


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Lend Lease's Heygate Olympics

When is a bailout not a bailout? At the recent Heygate CPO hearing Lend Lease, who had to be bailed out by the government over the Athletes’ Village, apparently weren’t happy with this description, ie being bailed out, when they were challenged by objectors. @MichaellondonSF tweeted from the #heygate CPO hearing: ‘Dispute with LendLease about whether govt funding for Athletes' Village had been a bailout’. Others were quite clear that this was indeed a bailout!


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Who's Dieter kidding?

Professor in Economics at Oxford and advisor to the European Commission Dieter Helm has added his voice to the Armitt/Labour argument that infrastructure projects should follow the ‘ODA/Olympics’model. Writing in the Financial Times on 1st February 2013 he said:

Delivering infrastructure at scale, on time and on budget is not rocket science. The Olympics showed the way to do it: there was a hard deadline, few losers and government money. What is needed is a set of clear system plans, planning procedures that compensate losers, and brutal honesty about what it is going to cost and who is going to pay. We must stop fretting about government accounting rules and tinkering with project lists and get on with it. Otherwise we will be left on the international sidelines.


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Unique Korean habitat in danger from Pyeongchang Olympics

Mount Kariwang-san is one of the Korean peninsula's most important forest habitats. The Uiryong People, of the Good Friends to Nature--Korea NGO, have been campaigning against the destruction of this habitat and have provided images showing the variety of species and the area affected by the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. In the mid-1990s they thwarted a government project to construct a motorway over a key pass in the Mount Pukhan National Park in Seoul...

'Uiryong People', nature conservationists from Friends of Nature - Korea, in front of a giant acer in Chungbong Valley'Uiryong People', nature conservationists from Friends of Nature - Korea, in front of a giant acer in Chungbong Valley


...working ahead of official teams, members of the non-profit organisation conducted a general survey of the woods in the proposed ski area using GPS to spot all the remarkable trees and then counted and measured them over the last two years...


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Democratic deficit

The principal legacy of the Olympics, apart from the endless lying, seems to be they just stop people thinking. Now John Armitt has said infrastructure projects should follow the example of the Olympics - they should get cross party support and politicians shouldn't interfere! It should just be down to a quango to decide on projects like building nuclear power stations or new runways. So don't ask questions and just dish out the dosh to the corporations.


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This might be a very small, very local Olympics legacy story...

At the end of July 2012 residents of Wick Village rallied to oppose ODA plans for the construction of a new bridge to cross the canal from Gainsborough School. The original bridge had been just for the use of children to get to their playing field on the opposite side of the canal at Arena Fields, a beautiful green space enjoyed by local residents which was destroyed to make way for the Media Centre. The new bridge, however, would include a ramp to allow for possible future public access to the bridge which would take away 30% of residents' communal space and leave the rest unusable. It also meant there was a danger their estate would become a through route for people trying to reach the Media Centre. Residents thought they had succeeded in defeating the plans when the ODA (not Hackney!) turned down the proposal.

However, things have followed a familiar pattern where the Olympics are concerned. After the latest meeting to discuss the revised plans one of the original objectors, Dee Dee O'Connell, tweeted:

'they're doing almost exactly the same thing as last time. Possibly worse.'


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