UK - A report by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) has described as "exemplary" the London Olympics' sustainability performance, attributing much of its success to the absence of private-sector involvement.
The Olympics-related regeneration in east London was assessed against criteria including governance, targets and consistent use of sustainability standards. It concluded the Games represented a "potent demonstrator of possibilities" for other large-scale regeneration projects, because of innovations in large-scale sustainable energy use and bioremediation.
The report acknowledged its sustainability rating was at least partly driven by its high global profile, accountability to the government and location in a market with high mandatory sustainability standards.
However, it identified the primary driver of sustainability performance as exclusive public-sector control over the process.
"There is an argument to be made that the standards achieved at the London Olympics are due largely to the lack of private sector involvement driving returns and potentially lowering costs and standards," said the report.
"If the Olympic Games had been developed under a more vibrant economic climate, and delivery had not remained under public control, this could potentially have compromised sustainability goals and perhaps fewer of the catalysts would have reached gold medal standard. However, if the public sector cannot deliver and effect change, then who can?"
Institutional investors in Olympics-related real estate include pension fund asset managers APG and CPPIB, which acquired the adjacent Westfield shopping centre, and sovereign wealth fund subsidiary Qatari Diar, which acquired the Olympic Village via a joint venture.
Despite London's proof of concept, the report warned that large-scale event-led projects could only be sustainable in cities large enough to absorb event venues. "Organisers of some other events continue to make excessive requirements encouraging bidding nations or cities to over provide stadia which do not accommodate sustainable options for the host cities in the long term,' it said.
Although it claimed an unmatched "learning legacy" for the London Olympics, Jones Lang LaSalle pointed to the irony that without more development in the UK that legacy was more likely to be exported than contained.