Along with everyone else at London 2012, I am proud that sport, in so many ways, has been the catalyst for the regeneration of some of the most under developed areas and communities of east London. The opportunity for urban renewal based around major events is also a key theme behind Shanghai’s awesome Expo, and there is a real focus here on sustainable communities.
The London and UK Pavilions at Expo 2010 have brilliant and creative Olympic and Paralympic-themed installations and features to help highlight the many positive social, economic, environmental and sporting impacts and influences that the Games will have on London and beyond, for decades to come.
And I detected a strong interest among Pavilion visitors in how we are using the Games as a catalyst for positive, long-term change in the community. Sport really is the ‘hidden social worker’ in our communities.
I had the honour of leading a tour of the UK Pavilion for members of the Shanghai Disabled Persons’ Federation. Among those on the tour were Xue Jun, a gold medallist in Volleyball (Sitting) in 2004 and 2008; Yao Fan and Ting Bao Zhong, silver medallists in Wheelchair Fencing in 2008; and Zhang Cong and Zhang Lei, silver medallists in Wheelchair Fencing in 2004.
The London Pavilion, which is run by the London Development Agency, is located in the Expo’s Urban Best Practice Area (UBPA). The theme of the Pavilion is ‘London, the Low-Carbon Capital’ and the city’s creative approach to sustainability.
Virtually every country in the world is represented at Expo 2010, as are the major cities in those countries. There is a real excitement and appetite for the world to come to London for the 2012 Games, and we look forward to welcoming them all. As home to more than 200 international communities and faith groups from all corners of the world, London’s diversity will provide a great setting and environment for everyone to celebrate together in 2012.