Rio on course for London-esque Olympic legacy

Rio Olympics

Two months before the Rio Olympic Games are due to open, the city is on course to experience a lasting legacy due to the export of the same approach adopted for London 2012, says AECOM, which developed the Masterplans for both Games.

Around 75% of the capital expenditure invested for the London Olympics was spent on transport and utilities infrastructure and the clean up and creation of green spaces, land for housing and permament sports and leisure facilities, the consultant says. A similar approach has been adopted for Rio. AECOM's 20 year masterplan for Rio covers three distinct phases: preparation for the event; transition after the Games; and long term legacy.

Rio's Olympic Park has been designed to prioritise the safety and free movement of over 150,000 spectators expected on peak days during the Games. At their conclusion, the focus will switch to the transformation of the site into green parkland. According to AECOM, the overriding goal is to deliver a sustainable Games in a broad sense, so the host city derives ongoing economic, social and environment benefits.

AECOM's global sports leader, Bill Hanway, said: “Despite Brazil’s current economic and political challenges, the guiding principle has always been for the Games to serve Rio and boost its development, improving the quality of life for all its citizens. The Games are a catalyst for changing not only the city, but the aspirations of future generations. As with London, our approach is to take a long-term view that sees the Games as a milestone in the ongoing legacy programme. The Games and the success of the event are the primary focus, but also serve as a driver for the future. It’s an opportunity to invest in underdeveloped areas and significantly upgrade transport and infrastructure. Rio is now on the cusp of reaping the legacy benefits.”

AECOM has worked with Rio’s Municipal Olympic Company (EOM), exporting knowledge gained from delivering masterplanning, landscape architecture, engineering and sustainability services for the London 2012 Games, the company says. In Rio, AECOM has reprised these roles with additional responsibility for  preliminary design of the Barra Olympic Park’s sports arenas and detailed design of the International Broadcast Centre.

The post-Games transition phase, including the deconstruction and repurposing of temporary structures, is expected to take between five and seven years to complete. In the legacy phase, more than three-quarters of the site will become a new neighbourhood. Just under a quarter of the Barra site will be occupied by permanent sports facilities. The velodrome will remain a cycling venue, the tennis centre will be adapted to host tournaments, and the Carioca Arenas will become a Sports Academy School and multi-sport training facility. The Olympic Aquatics Stadium will be rebuilt as two smaller community pools.