At the heart of the recent Marmot review of health inequalities (2010) is: the creation of healthy and sustainable communities and places; the creation of fair employment; and the enabling of children and young people to maximise their capabilities and opportunities. These key policy objectives, designed to improve health and reduce inequalities comprise an important part of the legacy regeneration of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. However, to date, the impact that major urban renewal and regeneration schemes have on the health and psychological wellbeing of the people they directly affect is largely unknown. This project will investigate how the Olympic legacy development agenda impacts upon health and wellbeing by comparing changes in the area subject to the Olympic regeneration with comparison areas in which there is no comparable regeneration.
In this study, regeneration activities in Stratford, London Borough of Newham, will act as the main intervention being evaluated- primarily the construction of the Olympic Park and Stratford City developments during late 2011 and early 2012. Physical regeneration will comprise of ‘sustainable’ transport networks (rail and active travel corridors); educational and housing infrastructure; new civic space, parks and green areas; improving the connectivity and accessibility of ‘fringe’ communities to the Olympic Park and development of shopping, business and community facilities. Comparison areas are Tower Hamlets, Barking and Dagenham, and Hackney, similar in terms of deprivation level and socio-demographics, where no comparable regeneration is taking place.
The ORiEL Project
The research takes the form of a longitudinal study of young people and their parents before, and twice after the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London. The primary research question to be answered concerns evaluating the impact of urban regeneration on the social determinants of health, health behaviours and health outcomes of the sample of young people and their parents involved in the project. We will assess this using a survey undertaken by young people in local schools, and by their parents; additionally in depth qualitative interviewing will be undertaken with a subset of respondents in Newham.
The research will make a significant contribution to understanding the value of the London Olympics specifically, and urban regeneration more broadly. The Olympics can be considered successful (as least from a broad health perspective) if improvements in health and health inequalities in the regeneration area are greater than in comparison areas. Take a look at our findings page to see our results so far.