The Greeks and the Gifts they bring : Post Olympic heritage and place making in East London



The story of the Trojan horse and its role in ending the seige of the city  is a  cautionary tale about a fake legacy gift. It has  bequeathed to us the most famous line of Vergil’s Aeneid  through which schoolboys of my class and generation were introduced to the fiendish intricacies of Latin verse: Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes – I fear the Greeks and the gifts they bring.… Read the rest

London 2012  and the Post Olympic City- A Hollow Legacy ?

Edited by Phil Cohen and Paul Watt

Published Palgrave Macmillan  May 2017 ISBN 987-1-137-48946-3

The strap line for 2012 was ‘Inspire a Generation’, and with the advent of the Rio Games a new chapter in Olympic history is  being  written – now is the time  to both look back and forward , and reach a considered verdict about how far that promise has been delivered.… Read the rest

SPEAKING OUT OF PLACE : reflections on London’s post Olympic legacy

Q: Who said:

‘As a microcosm of what we hope to achieve,  look at the Olympics and their Legacy….We have set ourselves the goal of ‘convergence’.  The idea is that kids growing up in East London should have the same life chances as anywhere else. There is no reason why the kids of East London should not benefit from, say, rugby, as much as the kids from Richmond.… Read the rest

This is East 20? Urban fabrication and the re-making of Olympic Park 



The Olympic Park has been  defined in many different ways :as a ‘lieu de memoire’ for Olympophiles, a  vision of the future city,   a local public amenity for East Enders, a global  visitor destination, a major  venue  for sports enthusiasts, and  the location of a series of residential neighbourhood eventually housing over 20,000 people. How can these different functions be  combined, if at all? … Read the rest

Olympic Site Visit – March 2013

I recently took some pictures on a visit to the Olympic Park which is now being transformed for post Olympic purposes.  Below is a gallery of the site.  More information about the construction of the site can be found here:  http://constructionandthegames.comRead the rest

East London Narrative Map

This project developed out of a narrative map produced by John Wallet for a book about East London and the Olympics by Phil Cohen published in March 2013.  The book and the  online resources that have been developed around provide the information and research base for work with schools and community groups in East London. A film  has been made exploring some of the conceptual and technical issues involved in making this map.… Read the rest

London Olympic Cultural And Urban Studies (LOCUS)

The following course outline is designed to provide some resources for  use with undergraduate students  who have a  basic  knowledge of   concepts in sociology and cultural studies. The main topics  for discussion in each session are indicated , linked to some key  readings. The student is  referred to  one or more sections of the online ‘reading map’ for further resources. Suggestions for film or image study, including the  relevant sections of the online galleries are also given.… Read the rest

The Key Players In London 2012

A list of some of the key players in the London Summer Olympics can be found here:  Key PlayersRead the rest

Map Readings

This select reading list contains books that I have found especially interesting, useful or thought provoking in writing this one. It is organised according to the main themes dealt with in the text in the order in which I read the books. So it comprises a personal reading history which I hope will be helpful to others. Starred items are ‘must reads’

Read the full text here: Map ReadingsRead the rest

The Olygarch’s Guide To Legacyspeak

Legacyspeak is an extreme case of what linguists call nominalisation in which actions are turned into objects and verbal processes are turned into abstract nouns. At its simplest this involves the deletion of concrete human agency and its replacement by abstract entities which become the chief protagonists of the storyline. So instead of a transactive model of causality involving a) an actor b) a process of modal action described by a verb, located in a specific time and place, and c) a consequential effect,  we have an account dominated by purely impersonal and often literally non verb-alisable processes of agency and accountability.… Read the rest