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The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: Whose Values, Whose Benefits?

Snaith, B. (2015). The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: Whose Values, Whose Benefits?. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Siting the Olympics in the Lower Lea Valley has been widely represented as a means to improve quality of life for the ethnically diverse, deprived communities living there, in part through the creation of a new ‘community parkland’, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Ethnic minorities however, are under-represented as users of parks and other green spaces across the UK, at a far greater level than can be explained by income alone. Little has been done to investigate this phenomenon, despite its implications for social justice and public health. Limited research has found examples of ethnic variations in normative cultural practices, racist and territorial behaviour in the public realm at large, and structural discrimination with less greenspace in the areas where ethnic minorities live.

Aiming to address a gap in the existing research literature, this case study investigates the relationship between the cultural inscription of park spaces, spatial practices of park making by the primarily ‘Anglo’ groups designing this new city space, and the experiences, preferences and values of the ethnically diverse communities who currently live around the London Olympic site.

Using a mixed methods approach, the empirical research finds that while seeking inclusion, exclusionary values are unintentionally embedded in production and management of UK parks. This thesis evidences the cultural values embedded in UK spatial practices, their exclusionary nature, along class and ethnic dimensions, and reflects on the importance of cultural consciousness in spatial design in our increasingly multicultural cities.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
School of Policy & Global Affairs > School of Policy & Global Affairs Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Snaith, Bridget (redacted).pdf]
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