The Olympic Games always generates a great deal of enthusiasm and expectation. Hosting 'the greatest show on earth' is seen by some as a once in a lifetime opportunity to provide new infrastructure and deliver benefits to local residents and communities.
Those organising the London 2012 bid are no different, claiming a Games would deliver a legacy of new sporting facilities, thousands of new jobs, new businesses, a 'step-change' in the nation's physical activity and ultimately a transformation of the East End of London.
But an analysis of past Games reveals that there is no automatic Olympic dividend, with the benefits often failing to flow to the people and places most in need. What is clear is that those cities that have secured a more sustainable legacy, have embedded the Olympics within a broader urban strategy. The challenge for London is to integrate the preparation for and hosting of the Games into a broader social policy agenda from the outset.
The contributors to this report analyse the challenges facing the organisers and offer a practical vision for a London Games which brings a sustainable legacy for employment, sport, culture, the environment and local communities.
Snakes and ladders: Tackling precarity in social security and employment supportAcross the country, people are trying to make ends meet, build financial security and pursue their aspirations. But, in a vicious cycle of snakes and ladders, many are being pulled down into poverty.
Making markets: The City's role in industrial strategyTo tackle climate change, we need a significant increase in public and private capital investment.
Broken hearted: A spotlight paper on cardiovascular diseaseProgress on cardiovascular disease was a significant driver of better health and prosperity in the latter half of the 20th century, however progress has recently stalled – with indications it may be in reverse.