Almost coming head to head with New York in a healthy rivalry, London is all set to replace the dodgy expanse of concrete outside Westfield Stratford with a long blossoming life for the wildflower meadows that had brightened up the Olympic Games last year. A team of experts including James Corner, who was the brain behind the trendy New York converted rail track The High Line, is now planning to bring the largest urban-wildlife park in over 100 years to London. The aim is to introduce garden-type scenery so that overworked Londoners can come in closer contact with Mother Nature. It is a huge site, about 100 hectares, which will be populated with more than 4,000 trees. This transformation will certainly give rise to speculation regarding which city is wilder, London or New York City?
After the London Paralympics 2012 came to an end, the Olympic Park in Stratford is being targeted for the above transformation. The complex of arenas, pools and buildings, which television viewers across the world had been getting familiar with, will be transformed into the newly-named Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The transformed park will be re-opened to the public in phases from July 27 this year, exactly a year after the start of the London 2012 Olympics.
The new Park is set to include 257 acres of open space, 6.5 km of waterways, nine direct rail links, five world-class sports venues, 2,000 events hosted annually and five new neighbourhoods. It is expected that if everything goes as scheduled, about 9.3 million people will visit the Park every year from 2016. Plans are afoot to remove temporary venues from the Olympic Park such as the Basketball Arena. The temporary seating at the Aquatics Centre will also be removed and only 2,500 seats will be left for future use. The Olympic Stadium will still host major international competitions.
Four organisations, West Ham United, Leyton Orient, Intelligent Transport Services in association with Formula One, and UCFB College of Football Business are bidding for making the showpiece venue their new home. The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) will assess the bids and evaluate the bidders before negotiations. The Olympic Park is set to become the new national home for athletics and to host the IAAF 2017 World Athletics Championships.