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.
Skylines is the podcast from CityMetric, the New Statesman cities site. It's presented by Jonn Elledge and Stephanie Boland, and is a Roifield Brown production.
PS: Just in case anyone out there is paying attention to the numbering of these things, and is wondering why we've gone from episode 13 to episode 16... No, you haven't missed any episodes: for various boring administrative reasons I decided that numbering mini-episodes 7.5 or similar was stupid, and so had to renumber the others accordingly. So, instead of episode 14, this is now episode 16. We're basically the Gregorian calendar of podcasts.