Interview with Mario Kaiser, ODA* Principal Design Advisor | The Plan
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Interview with Mario Kaiser, ODA* Principal Design Advisor

Andrea Boschetti - Let me come straight to the point in true “anglosaxon” style with a fundamental “political” question: how can one plan a great event in times of profound economic crisis? Can it really be seen as a way of boosting the economy and not create an added economic burden for the people of the organizing country? If yes, can you explain how and why?
Mario Kaiser - Let me give an equally simple, direct answer. You can still plan a big event but only if you see it as an opportunity to channel funds and economic resources into the host city for operations that are necessary for the local area and coincide with long term community goals. As far as London goes, the need to upgrade a strategic area of East London had long been recognized but the regeneration would have taken about 25 years. So the Olympics have been a pretext to speed up and complete work that in the normal course of things would have taken a pretty long time. The operation is of strategic importance to rebalance the whole metropolis. East London will no longer be just an industrial and commercial area but a valid alternative to West London as a residential and tertiary district. By the same token, The City will now play a more central, pivotal role, relieving the daily congestion on public transport caused by flows from the (residential) West into the City and vice versa.
Another very important factor justifying the financial effort and commitment is the ability to use funds well, minimizing public expenditure and maximizing involvement by other industry players. In other words, the event must create jobs, especially in times of crisis and provide balanced, sustainable support to the building industry. The ODA (the Olympic Delivery Authority, the government agency responsible for planning and developing the Olympic Park) has no more than a hundred employees handling a budget of 9.35 billion pounds. Everything, starting with the Project Management,...

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