Podcast: Let the games begin

London's Olympic Stadium during the opening of the 2012 games. Image: Getty.

So here’s a funny thing. We managed to do an entire podcast about the Olympics in cities, without saying the words “Rio de Janeiro” once. That’s weird, isn’t it?

Anyway. In a shameless bid for news relevance and SEO, this week, we’re talking about whether hosting a massively over-priced sporting jamboree is really the best way of regenerating a city.


Stephanie and I talk about why Barcelona ‘92 worked, but Athens ‘04 didn’t; discuss the various alternative models for hosting the Olympics that periodically come up for discussion; explore the long-forgotten time when town planning was an Olympic event (yes, really); and have a long and involved argument about whether dressage (“horse-dancing”) would be improved if the horses were drunk.

Then, festival producer Sara Doctors, who’s been working on cultural events in east London for many years, gives us a guided tour of London’s Olympic Park, past, present and future, and explains the role the 2012 games played in speeding up the regeneration of Stratford.

We also hear from Peter Watts about a London regeneration scheme with a rather different history: the decades-long failure to do something with Battersea Power Station. Watts recently published a book on this topic, Up In Smoke; if that’s a bit long for you, he wrote an article on the topic for these very pages.

Last but not least, listener Jeremy Broome – a Brit, who’s spent the last decade in Singapore – tells us about his city.

You can find some relevant links at the bottom of this page. First, though, here’s the episode. If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the podcast on AcastiTunes, or RSS. Enjoy.

Some links...

 
 
 
 

Podcast: Over the cliff

Uh, oh. Image: Warner Bros.

A couple of unexpectedly big bits of news have emanated from England’s local councils recently. An estate regeneration scheme in the London Borough of Haringey has become the latest front in Labour’s forever war; while Tory-run Northamptonshire council has literally run out of money.

So, it’s time to get into the weeds and talk about what’s gone wrong. To do that I’m joined once again by the journalist and local government analyst Emma Burnell. We talk about the budgetary problems facing England’s councils; why the sector has lost so much of the expertise it once had; and why Northamptonshire almost certainly won’t be the last council to fall over.

We also talk about the row in Haringey – and why it isn’t really about what everyone keeps saying it’s about.

Skylines is the podcast from the New Statesman's cities site, CityMetric. It's hosted by Jonn Elledge.

The episode itself is below. You can subscribe to the podcast on AcastiTunes, or RSS. Enjoy.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and also has a Facebook page now for some reason. 

Want more of this stuff? Follow CityMetric on Twitter or Facebook.