How we’re continuing the London 2012 legacy by driving innovation
When London was awarded the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in July 2005, the world was responding not only to a vision of a spectacular summer of sport, but also to an inspirational transformation programme that would last far into the future – “the regeneration of an entire community for the direct benefit of everyone who lives there”.
The Games were a huge moment for London and the UK. But with such a huge investment their legacy had to go beyond the happy glow as we watched our athletes win gold – they needed to have a real and lasting impact on the surrounding area.
It is the responsibility of the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), working with a broad range of partners and with local communities, to ensure that happens.
LLDC was formed to use the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of the London 2012 Games and the creation of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to change the lives of people in east London and drive growth and investment in London and the UK.
The financial and emotional investment from the London 2012 Games gave a huge boost to long held plans to transform this formerly neglected part of the capital.
Fast-forwarding six years, we now have a unique and successful destination in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - attracting around 6 million visitors every year - with world-class sporting venues in everyday use, and a full and exciting programme of events which has included sell-out concerts by international artists such as the Rolling Stones.
With our partners we are establishing new residential neighbourhoods and impressive new business districts, and integrating these into the existing fabric of the area.
And we continue to create education, training and employment opportunities for local people.
A beacon of innovation
One of the most exciting opportunities that has developed over the past few years is for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to become a globally significant innovation district.
Part of this is about using the Park as a testbed for innovative projects across a whole range of areas, including technology, sustainability, education, culture, sport, and inclusion.
We offer the UK’s innovators the space and infrastructure needed to trial new approaches and technologies, alongside the chance to understand the practical implications of these for members of the public.
The Games are all about pushing humankind to the limit so it’s a fitting legacy that we’re now using the Park to continue pushing our industries to innovate across such a wide range of sectors.
In particular we have an ambition to establish Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as a home for the advancement of connected and autonomous vehicle technologies, with the growing technology-based business community at Here East (including Ford’s Smart Mobility Innovation Office) operating alongside educational institutions such as Loughborough University London’s Advanced Propulsion Centre and UCL’s Institute of Robotics, to explore new approaches to advanced mobility.
The forthcoming arrival of world leading culture and education institutions as part of East Bank will further add to this mix, as we look to the future of transportation as one way to support the creation of sustainable, future ready places in London and across the UK.
Our latest project is this area is the Smart Mobility Living Lab (SMLL).
An environment built for collaboration
As a testbed for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), SMLL aligns perfectly with our goal to establish Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as a centre for advanced mobility and clean tech.
Our role in the project is to provide a location for the CAV and wider mobility industry to beta test their products and solutions in a campus-like, modern environment, allowing the socio-economic benefits of these new technologies to be investigated, and enabling them to be refined to ensure as positive an impact as possible on the everyday lives of our current and future communities.
Working with partners including Loughborough University London, Cisco and TRL to set up the testbed, along with the anticipation of being able to engage with the mobility industry as they trial what’s next for our transportation, is a huge benefit of this project for us.
Creating a true environment of collaboration and being able to use the facilities we have on the Park for such an innovative purpose is what the London 2012 legacy is all about.
Keeping London at the forefront of the next big thing and working together as a community are a big part of why we’re involved in SMLL. We look forward to sharing further updates on what the trials at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park are revealing over the coming months.