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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Westfield Stratford City: an Olympic Legacy to be proud of or ridiculous Temple to Consumerism?

Westfield Stratford City may have opened to great fanfare today, but I am not convinced that this vast temple to consumerism is the best legacy the 2012 Olympics could have left east London.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Westfield Development by Sniff Chatfield
Westfield Stratford City by Sniff Chatfield.

So, story amidst great fanfare the brand new Westfield Stratford City megamall was finally opened today, with the help of plenty of sheeny shiny celebrities: Nicole Scherzinger, Kelly Brook and erm, Boris Johnson. Yes, a bunch of loons queued for hours to get in and grab the hyped up First Day bargains, but what will be the reality of this huge shopping centre a few years down the line? I don’t doubt that the 2012 London Olympics will bring big revenues as punters are forced through the Westfield shopping funnel in order to get to the games, but what then?

Westfield Stratford City by Sniff Chatfield
Westfield Stratford City by Sniff Chatfield.

All the talk is of a lasting legacy, but this part of east London is a notoriously deprived area where communities are fractured and desire to own the latest goods drives people into dire debt. Is Westfield Stratford City the best legacy the Olympics could possibly leave? Not new homes, or, god forbid, facilities to support healthy communities? Yes, apparently creating space for hundreds of chainstores and the UK’s largest casino is a legacy to be proud of, destined to enrich this community. Let’s hope those much trumpeted jobs last long after the Olympic torch is gone and the gleaming surfaces start to lose a bit of their sheen.

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One Response to “Westfield Stratford City: an Olympic Legacy to be proud of or ridiculous Temple to Consumerism?”

  1. Antonia says:

    We have a Westfield in Tunbridge Wells. The rents are extortionate, especially for the independent shop owners. If shops close (which many are), Westfield does its best to hide emptyness (not by letting artists occupy, but by covering in posters, or actually walling over!) and yet the high rents that owners can’t afford keep going up.

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