Ricky Burdett warns against Olympic middle-class ghetto
Ricky Burdett, the Olympic Park Legacy Company’s design guru, has called on his bosses to ensure that long-term plans for the area do not turn it into a middle-class ghetto.
Speaking during a public debate on the Olympic Park after 2012, Burdett warned that 30 years of investment in east London had done little to raise its socio-economic profile and that unless the Olympic Park was stitched into its setting, little would change beyond the park’s perimeter.
He said: “I am reminded by major urban developments of the last 60 years that have become nightmares that any large-scale intervention like this could do something very negative.
“The worst thing it could do is create a massive ghetto of people who are different from those who are there.”
Burdett said he was confident the amended masterplan would not do this because it aimed to create different neighbourhoods just like the rest of the city, but he admitted: “It’s not going to be easy to make this a normal piece of London.”
He added: “The real question for a masterplanner is how do you play with the DNA of the city? I would be positive about the plan because it has tried to create a very subtle framework which provides the bones of a city that will be created over time.”
Burdett was speaking on Wednesday evening as part of the British Library’s Story of London festival.
His comments came as Andrew Altman, chief executive of the legacy company, criticised the original masterplan, by Edaw (now Aecom), Allies & Morrison and KCAP, for being “choked with blocks of small flats”.
A nine-strong team of practices including these three firms has drawn up a radically revised legacy masterplan featuring designs inspired by traditional London terraces.