Olympic Citizen: Sydney

Jessica Paterson, Graduate of Architecture from the University of Technology, 27, Sydney.

1. Which aspect of your city and the games host made you most proud?

During the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Sydney’s CBD was transformed into a dynamic, spontaneous urban terrain filled with unexpected experiences. The atmosphere created through a strategy of activating spaces such as Sussex Lane highlighted the great potential of Sydney’s CBD.

2. Do you think Sydney has changed (or will change) for the better and what do you think the biggest single legacy is or will be?

Sydney’s legacy is that it is still thought of as the best games. I’m not sure what this offers us as a city now – perhaps we have just become a little stagnant.

3. What particular challenges or lessons from Sydney can act as lessons for future host cities?

I think this probably goes for a lot of host cities but I would say the biggest lesson would be not to build the stadiums as an isolated precinct disconnected from the rest of the city. Instead try to weave it into existing fabric, think strategically about the transport infrastructure you are building and develop a plan for the area post Olympics.

4. Why do you think other cities should consider or not consider hosting or bidding for the Olympic Games?

This is a very difficult question to answer I think there are always two sides to this argument. In developing countries the games place a large economic burden on the city. At the same time if cities are strategic about the way they plan and host the games they can use the games as an opportunity to rebuild impoverished areas. It is also undeniable the positive effect the games has on the citizens of the host city – perhaps like South Africa with the Soccer World Cup it gives people something to hope for.

5. What was your favourite moment during the Sydney Olympic Games?

The opening ceremony in Sydney was amazing. I was living in Manly on the Sydney’s Northern Beaches at the time, still at school and a bunch of us caught the Manly Ferry into the CBD to celebrate the opening, there were so many people running around everywhere, gigantic screens and parties. I have not seen Sydney collectively in such high spirits since.


6. Do you think cities can improve their brand through the Olympic Games, and how do you think your Sydney’s brand is forever changed?

I think cities can improve their brand by making good decisions with the way they facilitate and plan for the games and also what they do with the city post games. Sydney is still known as being the best games but perhaps it’s about time we stopped resting on our laurels.

7. What are the some of the ways in which the Olympic Games has, and is inspiring a more liveable city for citizens?

The creation of strategically located public facilities – parks, infrastructure, quality public space and affordable housing is always a good thing in our ever densifying cities. If Olympic cities get these elements right they are on the right track to a more liveable city. I would say liveability and the post games strategy would be highly linked.

8. If you could go back into the past, and look into Future Sydney, what would you change about some of the decisions made before the Olympic Games?

The location of the venues and the transport infrastructure are the two main elements I would change. I would also make sure the city had a strong and viable strategy for the post games site.

9. What do you think will make London 2012 unique when compared to previous host cities?

I’ve talked about this quite a bit but I think London will become known for its strategy pre and post Olympics; from the selection of the site and upgrading of infrastructure to the creation of new public facilities and spaces that are embed within existing residential areas.

The dismantling and reuse of the extra stadium seating and other facilities to provide for Rio is also an inspirational move

10. What role should citizens play in the lead up to hosting the Olympic Games? Do you think citizens were or are being involved enough in some of the key decisions? Why or why not?

Citizens should be able to have a say but the reality in how far that extends is most likely very limited.