NEW downloads available

Some of the presentations from previous seminars in the UEL Seminar Series ‘Beyond 2012: The Olympics and The Regeneration of East London’ are now available for download. In addition, Ralph Ward has also written a few “thinkpieces”, which can also be downloaded from the seminar websites.

29th October 2012: Learning from History – Barcelona 20 Years On

Guest speakers: Prof. Francesc Muñoz and Dr. Berta Cerezuela

30th January 2013: The Post-2012 Development Plan for East London

Guest speakers: Martin Crookston and Eric Sorensen

20th March 2013: The sustainable city: challenges and opportunities for East London

Guest speakers: Bruce McVean and Samantha Heath

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UEL Seminar: Reviewing Convergence – 22nd May 2013

UEL Seminar Series – Beyond 2012: the Olympics and the Regeneration of East London

Next Seminar:  “Reviewing Convergence”

22nd May 2013, 5.30pm – 7.30pm

The headline promise of the London 2012 Games was that they would benefit East London’s communities and regenerate the area.  This translated into the concept of ‘convergence’ and formed part of the 2009 Strategic Regeneration Framework (SRF): “within 20 years the communities who host the 2012 Games will have the same social and economic chances as their neighbours across London”.

Although we are only at the beginning of that 20 year Legacy period, the convergence agenda has already existed for four years.  It is therefore opportune to examine what has occurred so far, to review whether the indicators set out in the SRF to measure ‘convergence’ are still fit for purpose, and to explore what new thinking might be needed to achieve convergence.

Issues and challenges that might be discussed in this context include:

  • The intense pressure that rising land value exert in terms of change of land use and therefore change of place and related impacts on community.
  • How do we define ‘local community’ and ‘local residents’ over a generational timescale given the high level of churn in the population of East London?
  • How and what is being counted? Statistically, convergence could be achieved by (a) raising the base quality of economic and social life of disadvantaged residents across the board, (b) displacing poorer with better off residents or (c) adding large numbers of more affluent residents to the existing demographic profile.

‘Convergence’ is therefore a highly contested agenda and one not solely controlled by policy. However, we might ask whether the ‘value management’ mechanisms that policy has at its disposal, are good enough or well-enough used and what else could be brought to bear?

Guest Speakers:

Prof Tim Butler, King’s College London

Tim Butler is Professor of Geography at King’s College London and one of the UK’s leading experts on the role of social class and social inequality in British society. He has carried out extensive research on gentrification in general and the regeneration of East London in particular. His recent publications include the book Ethnicity, Class and Aspiration: remaking London’s New East End with Chris Hamnett (2011) and Mixed Communities: Gentrification by Stealth with Gary Bridge and Loretta Lees (2011).  Tim Butler was previously Professor of Urban Sociology at the University of East London and has twice been invited to Sciences Po, Paris, as a visiting professor.

Roger Taylor, Growth Boroughs Unit

Roger Taylor is the recently-retired Director of the Growth Boroughs Units (previously Host Boroughs) comprising the London boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.  In a long and distinguished local government career, he was previously Chief Executive of Manchester and then Birmingham City Councils before joining the private sector to pursue a career in public sector consultancy and interim management. He became Director of the Host Boroughs Unit in 2008 after an extended period as Interim Chief Executive at the London Borough of Waltham Forest.


London Legacy Development Corporation, Level 10, 1 Stratford Place, Montfichet Road, London E20 1EJ


Participation is free, but registration is essential as paces are limited. To book a place, please email Sue Isaac (

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sustainable City: Challenges and Opportunities in East London – 20th March 2013

UEL Seminar Series – Beyond 2012: the Olympics and the Regeneration of East London

3rd Seminar:  20th March 2013, 5.30pm – 7.30pm

Economic growth is intrinsic to policy ambitions for the economic and social renewal of East London, and the convergence of its living conditions with those offered elsewhere in the city. Managing the environmental impact of that growth however will be a major challenge. Currently the average resident of East London has a significantly smaller carbon footprint than the London average. How can we decouple the economic growth we need from adverse environmental consequences we can no longer afford, and achieve growth sustainably?

This is a challenge but is also an opportunity. The huge scale of change anticipated in East London creates scope to embed new ways of doing things, in terms of development, but also in terms of personal behaviour and urban management. Existing infrastructure networks provide solid foundations on which to build. East London is already in the vanguard of policy awareness to develop a sustainable future for London, and the focus of initiatives to exploit the business opportunities which sustainable growth is beginning to generate.

Guest Speakers:

Bruce McVean

Bruce is an Integrated Design Manager and works as a consultant for Beyond Green, where he helped prepare a report for the Host Borough Unit on a strategic sustainability framework for East London. Bruce previously worked as a Senior Policy Advisor at the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). He was responsible for developing and communicating CABE’s policies on sustainable design and climate change, public buildings, health and public space. Before that he managed a number of regeneration projects in Hackney and Lambeth while working as a consultant for Renaisi.

Samantha Heath

Samantha Heath is the Chief Executive of the London Sustainabilty Exchange, one of the most experienced and well established organisations working at a strategic level to promote sustainability in London. She was a member of the London Assembly from 2000-2004, during which time she was a member of the Transport Committee, chaired the Environment Committee and also co-chaired the London Sustainable Development Commission.


Prof. Allan Brimicombe

Professor Allan Brimicombe is Head of the Centre for Geo-Information Studies (CGIS) at UEL and he has been the lead researcher on various projects related to the London 2012 Games. Together with his CGIS colleague Dr Yang Li and teams of researchers from across UEL and other institutions, Professor Brimicombe has been conducting the Olympic Games Impact (OGI) studies, commissioned by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) on behalf of LOCOG. The OGI studies included, for instance, the Pre-Games OGI covering the period 2003-2010, a Value Study of the £9.3bn public sector financing of the London 2012 Games for LOCOG, and the Games-Time OGI study which was completed in December 2012 and should soon be available to the public.


London Legacy Development Corporation, Stratford


Participation is free, but places are limited so registration is essential. To book a place, please email Sue Isaac ( or Dr. Valerie Viehoff (

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Call for Papers extended: New deadline 29 March 2012

The new deadline of the Call for Papers for the International Conference on Olympic Legacies and Impacts of Mega-Events on Cities will be Friday, the 29th March 2013.

Further details on how to submit your abstract can be found on the conference website

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Call for Papers now open: International Conference on Olympic Legacies

The Call for Papers is now open for an international and interdisciplinary conference on Olympic legacies and impacts of mega-events on cities, held at the University of East London, Docklands Campus, 4th – 6th September 2013.

Researchers, policy makers, postgraduate students and anyone interested in and engaged with urban development issues arising from hosting mega- events such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Football World Cup, International Fairs, etc. are invited to contribute to the conference,


In the recent period the urban transformation achieved by hosting the Olympics has become synonymous with the language of ‘legacy’. Now forming part of the Olympic Charter and an essential element of any city’s bid for hosting the Olympic Games, ‘legacy’ usually refers to the (positive) economic, cultural, environmental and social impacts that arise and continue to unfold long after the games are over. In London, one key legacy promise was the regeneration of the city’s East End.

The aim of the conference is to provide a space to share and exchange knowledge that is focused on, for instance, but not exclusively, the following key themes:

  • The Changing Urban Order and Mega-Events
  • Evaluating Legacy
  • Future Mega-Event Cities

Highlights of the conference programme

  • Opening keynote by Dr. Juan Clos (Executive Director of UN-HABITAT and former Mayor of Barcelona)
  • Closing keynote by Prof. Lamartine DaCosta (Professor of Olympic Studies, Universidade Gama Filho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  • Guided field trip to the newly opened Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Call for Papers

The conference organisers are inviting papers from researchers, academics, practitioners and postgraduate students from around the world. Please send your abstract of no more than 300 words to before 1st March 2013. Or, if you would like to organise a session on a particular topic, please contact Dr. Valerie Viehoff (

Please see for further details.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New UEL Seminar Series: Beyond 2012 – The Olympics and the Regeneration of East London

On Wednesday, the 30th January 2013, the second seminar in the new UEL Seminar Series ‘Beyond 2012: the Olympics and the Regeneration of East London’ took place at the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) in Straford.

The aim of the seminars is to explore the transformation of East London beyond 2012 and to create a knowledge platform that may inform the longer term social, economic and cultural development of the area. The seminars offer a space to discuss issues arising in the shaping of place in one of the world’s leading global cities, for instance: Are there any broader, longer term plans for East London to maximise the Olympic contribution to the city’s expansion eastwards? What else is happening, or should be happening, to deliver the better quality of life to local residents? Who is responsible for drawing up and managing such a plan? What roles should the public and private sectors and international investors play in the expansion of the city eastwards?

“Towards a post-2012 development plan for East London”

Over the last few decades East London has never been short of development ambition – Water City, Thames Gateway, Arc of Opportunity, Digital peninsula, planned riverside communities and new quarters, and it now has an impressive set of elements – global financial centre, entertainments complex, exhibition centre and now the Olympic Park, which were unthinkable even thirty years ago. But large gaps still remain, and a credible big picture of how it will evolve into the new century, based around a clear understanding of its role in 21st century London, is harder to find.

The invited guest speakers Eric Sorensen and Martin Crookston opened the evening with their insightful presentations, followed by a lively debate chaired by Ralph Ward. The seminar was attended by around 60 participants from a wide range of background. Some of them have published their thoughts and comments on their blogs, e.g. Prof. Michael Edwards (University College London) has published detailed notes of the presentations and the subsequent discussion on his blog and Jackie  Sadek’s (UK Regeneration) thoughts on the event can be found here

Some background information on the special guests of this seminar

Eric Sorensen has been at the centre of urban policy and practice in London for decades. As a senior civil servant he managed the first inner city Directorate at the then Department of Education (DoE), before moving on to become chief executive of the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) from 1991 to its closure in 1997. He led the London Development Partnership which advised the incoming Mayor in 2000 on strategic priorities for London, and then led the London Thames Gateway Partnership. He has recently retired as Chief Executive of the Central London Partnership.

Martin Crookston is one of the most experienced and respected consultants in the country in the field of regeneration and urban planning. As Director of Llewellyn Davies he managed the East Thames Corridor study for Michael Heseltine which gave rise to the Thames Gateway and has undertaken numerous studies on east London issues, including Thames River crossings and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, where he helped prepare the case for Stratford station. Recently he has been advising Tower Hamlets on Olympic legacy.

Ralph Ward has recently retired from Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) as their planning and regeneration adviser on Thames Gateway and Olympic legacy. He worked in the London Development Unit in Government Office for London (GOL) when it managed London’s strategic development issues prior to the arrival of the GLA, and before that as a senior development planner for LDDC. He is now a visiting Professor at LERI, UEL.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Games offers space for wider reflections on London: a new book on the city considers the future

One of the major opportunities the London 2012 Olympics has produced is for the city to become more clearly a focus –  object for multiple reflection. Taking stock and acknowledging London’s strengths as a creative capital and a ‘live’ city is encouraged by the buzz of the Games. Re-thinking London, acknowledging success as well as challenges is part of the 2012 experience. Such refelctions form the main themes of a new publication from Ashgate press: London After Recession: A Fictitious Capital?. It comes from an editorial team from London East Research Institue and lead by Prof. Gavin Poynter. The book includes local and international contributors. It serves as a follow up to previous Ashgate volumes, London’s Turning (2008) Eds. Phil Cohen and Mike Rustin, Olympic Cities: 2012 and the Remaking of London Eds Gavin Poynter and Iain MacRury – amounting to a trilogy of analytic texts looking at urban change – with London as case study and central exemplar. Details at:

The Olympic city should be looked at in the context of wider events. The credit crunch has been a case in point. London is subject to fragmentary policy initiatives, amplified inequalities and economic stagnation – as well as creative energy and successes. There is a lot to think about!  London After Recession seeks to contribute to this debate from a variety of perspectives – and figuring many versions of London. US and Chinese cities are considered too.

The City has long been the main generator of London’s wealth and, needless to say, the impact of the Economic Crisis in the recent years on the City has greatly affected the wider urban and surrounding region, not to say country as a whole. This book examines the impact of the recession and discusses London’s future trajectory as an entrepreneurial city and capital of the United Kingdom. While recognising the enduring capacity of London to ‘reinvent’ itself – from being the centre of a vast Empire to becoming a global centre for financial and business services – contributors evaluate different dimensions of the city’s current and future development through analyses derived from sociological, economic, cultural and urban studies perspectives

Contents: Preface; Introduction: a fictitious capital?, Gavin Poynter; Part 1 Global Cities and Responses to Recession: The global recession, Gavin Poynter; New York City’s economy: more than Wall Street?, Sean Collins; The glittering prizes of Shanghai, Alan Hudson; Finance and culture: twin towers in London’s lightness of being, Andrew Calcutt. Part 2 Financialisation and London’s Economy: Historic transitions and circuits in London’s financial services, Richard Sharpe; Opening and closing spaces for fictitious capital: the state and finance capital in London, Richard Sharpe; London’s financial services: after the credit crunch, Daniel Ben-Ami; The apprentice: realities and fictions for the London skyline, Iain MacRury; A tale of two journalisms: counteracting tendencies in London’s media, Andrew Calcutt; The real economy and the regeneration of East London, Alvaro de Miranda; Energy, James Woudhuysen; Carbon trading in the city of undoing, Maxine Newlands; Music from the storm clouds: the continuing troubles of the music business, Andrew Blake; Farewell Nathan Barley? The rise and decline of the freelance creative, Graham Barnfield. Part 3 Mobility and Social Policy in London: Overcoming the limits to travel, Alastair Donald; Immigration and London’s economy, Gavin Poynter; The housing crisis, Penny Bernstock and Gavin Poynter; The health service of the future, Justine Cawley; Hard times for higher education: knowledge economy, economies of knowledge, Karina Berzins. Part 4 London’s Future: The crisis of fictitious capital, Michael Rustin; Toward a new urban economy?, Gavin Poynter; Index.

About the Editors: Gavin Poynter, University of East London, UK, Iain MacRury, University of East London, UK and Andrew Calcut, University of East London, UK

Reviews: ‘This original and timely book is one of the first to come to grips with London’s changing politics and economics in the wake of the on-going global financial crisis. It brings together new contributions and insightful assessments of past trends to provide a convincing account of the relationships between the city’s globalised financial and creative industries, its governance, and the well-being of its citizens. I strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in contemporary urban studies and the impacts of the financial crisis on urban development and change.’ 
Mike Raco, University College London, UK

‘The rise of London, with New York, as the leading financial center of the global economy is the most significant event in the history of Britain since the end of the imperial era. It affects profoundly every aspect of British life, from the geographical and functional balance of the economy to the values and culture of British society. This book does justice to this huge, sprawling subject. Written for the most part by academics at the University of East London, a stone’s throw from The City, It brings a sharp multidisciplinary focus to its subject matter, and suggests that, with the rise of this Northern Dubai, Britain has struck a Faustian bargain with the now discredited masters of the financial universe. A milestone study.’ 
Simon Head, New York University, USA and St Antony’s College, Oxford, UK 

This title is also available as an ebook, ISBN 978-1-4094-3103-9

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Team GB and Higher Education

According to a recent study, reported in the Times Higher Education this week, 55% of all the athletes in team GB are university graduates, or currently studying for their degree. This is higher than the overall UK population participation rate of 49%.

The research also points out that a fifth of team GB studied at just five universities, and that within some sports, such as hockey, the level of degree attainment in team GB is 90%. Read the full report here.

The University of East London is proud of our own student athletes on team GB for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Gemma Gibbons, a graduate student at UEL has won a silver medal in judo.  We will also be cheering for Ali Jawad who will be powerlifting in the Paralympics.

For a complete run down of UEL’s talented student athletes, please click here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Michelle Obama visit to UEL

The University of East London was very pleased to host the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama on the opening day of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralymic Games. Michelle Obama has been leading the USA Presidential delegation to the games, and expressed her admiration for UEL’s state of the art SportsDock which has been the main training centre for team USA during the games.

For more information, please click here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

National Identity, Knowledge about Countries Intergroup Attitudes, Competitiveness and Sport Participation of Newham Pupils in the Run-up to the 2012 Olympics: Baseline Study

A study conducted by Virginia Lam at UEL has recently been conducted examining the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and their impacts on notions of national identity, sports participation and knowledge about countries among primary school children in East London.

There is surprisingly little systematic academic research into the link between group identity (including national identity such as Britishness) and sport participation although it has been discussed by numerous scholars. With the London Olympics looming, the sense of national belonging among the British public has likely become heightened. This study investigated Newham children’s and adolescents’ British and ethnic self-identity, knowledge about in-(British) and out-group (foreign) countries, and attitudes towards their people, competitive attitude and sport participation in the year running up to the Games.

Over 400 pupils aged 5-15 years were tested using standardised measures. Results show that strength of British identity declined towards later childhood (from 8-9 years) whereas that of ethnic identity remained relatively stable with age. Knowledge about countries increased with age, while British-born pupils were more knowledgeable about Britain. Pupils’ liking for, and stereotypes of, different nationalities did not differ at age 5-6 years, but diverged from 8-9 years, even though liking for different nationalities converged again at age 14-15, when pupils stereotypes of the groups were most different. Pupils showed increasingly negative stereotypes of the British, but nevertheless preferred them as one of the most liked groups with age.

Both competitiveness and sport participation decreased with age, but the type of activities they played varied as a function of age, gender (e.g., football became vastly more popular than any other sport with age, particularly among boys) and ethnicity (cricket was particularly popular among Asian pupils). Pupils with lower family affluence reported the greatest discrepancies between generic and recent participation, indicating they are afforded fewer opportunities to play sport. Those with a stronger sense of British identity tended to like the British more, but not necessarily also stereotype them more positively nor like foreign groups less. These findings are discussed in the light of follow-up research with the same pupils being planned for the post-Olympic period (autumn 2012).

The preliminary findings (from primary school schools) had been presented as a poster at the UEL Undergraduate Research Internship awards evening in October 2011 (see blog in November 2011). The full study’s initial findings were presented in an invited talk by Virginia at the Centre of Psychiatry, Queen Mary, in April 2012 and have been accepted for oral presentation at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference of Developmental Psychology (Glasgow) in September. The full paper is being submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed academic journal, and a non-technical report for participating schools is available here.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment