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LONDON-Hosting the Olympic Games can bring huge long term benefits according to a report released by agency Jones Lang LaSalle. The report, ‘Reaching beyond the Gold’ examines the legacies of four recent Olympic hosts- Seoul in 1988, Barcelona in 1992, Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000 and looks ahead to the potential impact on Athens which hosts the games in 2004.

‘History clearly demonstrates that the Olympic host city will enjoy significant long-term benefits,’ said Melinda McKay, senior vice president of JLL and co-author of the study. ‘While the games generate short-term economic gains, such as more jobs and increased revenue, other indirect effects- such as changes in the host city’s urban form and governance- are farther reaching and longer lasting.’

Urban regeneration has been a key benefit to each of the recent hosts. Sydney developed its Olympic stadium on a site which has been part swamp as well as being home to a brick works, a meat packing plant and a munitions dump. ‘As a result of the Games, this area is now one of the most accessible locations in Sydney,’ said McKay. ‘boasting world class sporting facilities and one of the largest and best-serviced residential communities in the city.’

The design, location and form of Olympic villages can also have a dramatic impact on urban development. Seoul and Barcelona developed full-scale new urban centres, including housing, retail and other community facilities. Sydney’s Olympic village of Newington will eventually provide homes for 5,000 residents and Athens looks set to follow when it converts its 200 acre Olympic site into residential, commercial and public use after the games.

Co-author of the report, Craig Plumb, and head of research at JLL, said, ‘Many of the infrastructure improvements have been discussed for years, but the Olympics often provide the necessary catalyst to bring future projects to fruition.’

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