Paris’s “Northern Cluster” to Spur Urban Regeneration and Leave a Rich Olympic Legacy
The concept praised by leading Olympic planning expert as “showcase of fiscal prudence and sustainable urban development”.
Paris 2012 today outlined the “Northern Cluster” concept to the visiting IOC Evaluation Commission, headed by Nawal El Moutawakel, during the Commission’s tour of the Cluster venues. The ground-breaking concept promotes urban regeneration and sustainable development by focusing on the needs of the Olympic visitors and the area’s residents through innovative design and planning.
Paris 2012’s “Northern Cluster” concept received praise today from the Olympic planning expert for the Sydney Games, Bridget Smyth, who described it as “an innovative concept, a showcase of fiscal prudence and sustainable urban development”.
Breaking from the traditional model of “Olympic Parks” (represented in the Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympics), Paris 2012 has designed the Northern Cluster to be “open”, allowing spectators, as well as the area’s residents, to enjoy the Games. Access to all the venues will be made possible by grouping the venues according to their geographic location, linking them by transport routes and making enhancements to the existing public transport systems.
“Paris 2012’s Northern Cluster is resolutely innovative, as it installs a cluster of Olympic venues into the very heart of an already existing urban infrastructure”, said Ms. Smyth, who
served as Director of Urban Design and Games Look with the Olympic Co-ordination Authority for the Sydney Games from 1996 to 2001. “The cluster’s unprecedented design brings fluidity in the circulation of the athletes, media and spectators, while respecting the residents’ activities and movements. This concept actually brings these two groups of people closer, allowing everyone to enjoy the full Olympic experience”.
The Northern Cluster will be a significant catalyst for the development of the North of Paris, an area that is disadvantaged by low incomes and an ageing infrastructure. As an indirect effect of the Games, residents will benefit from the physical, economic and cultural redeployment of the area. More directly, they will enjoy the new Aquatic Centre, the SuperDome, new parks and updates to the local metro system.
Determined to avoid “white elephants”, Paris 2012 worked closely with the Communauté d’Agglomération de la Plaine Commune1 to define the needs of the Cluster and ensure that the needs of the Ile-de-France population are met.
Henri Sérandour, President of the French National Olympic Committee and member of Paris 2012 Founding Committee, said: “The Games will catalyze urban regeneration in the North of Paris, one of this city’s last remaining underdeveloped areas. The Northern Cluster’s design
marries the IOC requirements for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the French population’s needs. The 2012 Games in Paris would be a gift to the residents and would leave a rich Olympic legacy for future generations.”
Notes to editors
The “Northern Cluster” will house both temporary and permanent structures, including:
- the International Broadcast Center
- the Main Press Center
- the proposed Olympic stadium -- the Stade de France Paris 2012
- the Superdome
- the Aquatic center
- the wrestling, taekwondo and handball pavilions
- Basketball, boxing, weightlifting and table tennis pavilions will be installed in a new 10-hectare park.
All structures, including the Transport that links them to the Olympic Village and Western Cluster, will be under maximum security and protection 24 / 7. This includes an array of active (access control, national and local police patrols) and passive (alarms, video surveillance) security measures in place at all Olympic and Paralympic Games venues.
Bridget Smyth, Director, Urban Design and Games Look with the Olympic Co-ordination Authority for the Sydney Games, 1996 to 2001.
Ms. Smyth is the Executive Director, Design (City Architect) for the City of Sydney, and plays a lead role in shaping Sydney’s civic improvements program. She manages a portfolio of special projects covering masterplans, public parks, public buildings, public art, urban spaces, infrastructure and has an advisory role on private developments in Sydney.
Prior to this role Ms. Smyth was Director Urban Design and Games Look, with the Olympic Coordination Authority, from 1996–2001. She was responsible for urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, and public art for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Ms. Smyth initiated and directed the public art program (AUD$ 8 Million), which enabled artists to create significant works of art as part of the development of the Olympic venues and the public domain at Homebush Bay. In addition, Ms. Smyth took responsibility in 1998 for the Look of the Games Program which covered venues, as well as common and urban domains.
She led the team that pioneered the Look of the Games, venturing beyond venues and into the City, Olympic corridors and Olympic Live sites.
From 1990-1996, Ms. Smyth held a senior design role in the largest urban infrastructure project underway in the United States – the $US14 billion Central/Artery Tunnel Project, Boston Massachusetts. Ms. Smyth managed the project’s public art program, initiating the major public art projects as an integral component of the city’s new infrastructure.
Ms Smyth holds a Bachelor of Planning and Design, a Bachelor of Architecture (Hons) from the University of Melbourne, and a Masters in Design (Urban Design) from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.