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Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was built with a clear Inclusive Design strategy from the start and was followed before, during and after the Games to ensure inclusive, sustainable, livable communities in and around the park.

This Photo shows the park from above

The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) is responsible for the development of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park following the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Lead users:

LLDC worked closely with a number of organisations including the Mayor of London, the Greater London Authority, central government, the East London Host Boroughs, residents in neighbouring local communities, local organisations, businesses and regeneration agencies and national and international sporting, cultural and leisure organisations. 

 

Awards:

Awarded Green Flag status in each year from 2014 to 2018, and won or been nominated for more than 60 awards in total.

Over

25 M

visitors

This photo shows the accessible toilet facilities
This is a photo of the walkaway in the park
Here is a photo of the accessible outdoor areas at the park

CHALLENGE

The organisers of the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in London set out to deliver the most accessible Games in history. The London Legacy Development Corporation’s (LLCD)  was responsible for delivering an ambitious Olympic legacy promise in the original London 2012 bid: to develop the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as a new centre for east London creating new opportunities for the community. 

There was a risk that the work undertaken to deliver “the most accessible Games ever” would not to be built on during the post-Games development of the site. The LLDC recognised that Inclusive Design of the park and venues underpinned the success of the Games and ensured that this ethos continued. In 2012, the space represented a major new urban location for London with iconic buildings such as the London Aquatics Centre designed by Zaha Hadid. 

This photo shows the pool accessibility
In this photo you can see a man swimming with his wheelchair left on the pool ramp
Here you can see a man with a broken arm accessing the pool

QUESTION

Post - event: how do we ensure that an Olympic Park and its buildings benefit the city and communities around them in an inclusive and equitable way?

APPROACH

LLDC’s Inclusive Design approach included:

  • Senior Inclusive Design Manager 
    – the key, client-side lead on accessibility and Inclusive Design ensuring continuity and consistency
  • Inclusive Design Standards
    – creation of standards that all the development must adhere to, as dictated by planning policy
  • Built Environment Access Panel
    – an independent Built Environment Access Panel to review all the development work, made up of disabled and non disabled people with knowledge of Inclusive Design in the built environment
  • Innovation
    – remain at the forefront of Inclusive Urban Design by promoting community participation, championing inclusion, and ensuring high quality design as well as environmental sustainability.
Drone photo of the Olympic park and London

RESULTS

The outcome is an inclusive new city space in East London. LLDC produced a variety of projects and programmes ranging from concert events to the creation of five new lifetime neighbourhoods.

Inclusive Design is always key: for example, the London Aquatics Centre is designed for swimmers of all abilities, with a system for lowering wheelchair users into the pool, and the award-winning Timber Lodge and Tumbling Bay Playground which has some of the following Inclusive Design features: automatic doors; level access throughout; accessible changing facilities; multi-faith prayer room; good signage and layout and a playground designed for a broad range of ages and abilities.

The operator employs over 50% disabled staff. True to the spirit of inclusive innovation, the Global Disability Innovation Hub was also established on the park, bringing together academic excellence, innovative practice and co-creation to make a positive impact on the lives of disabled people around the world.

Here is a photo of the handicap places outside the pool