Stratford: what it was and what it has become…

Due to the London Olympics that took place in 2012, Stratford is seen as one of the most up and coming areas in East London. The town that once appeared souless and gritty with little to do there is now very much different.

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(Greig, R. 2013, Stratford City Centre)

“The town’s original retail hub may still be Westfield’s ugly sister, but a superficial makeover means these days it’s seducing more shoppers than ever.” (Clack, D. 2013)

The 1970’s shopping centre which is still there offered very little variety of shops and created an untidy and derelict space for the residents of Stratford for the very view shoppers who would come to visit. Now, across the busy road is Westfield Shopping Centre, one of the largest urban shopping centres in Europe. The development of space because of the Olympics has ow transformed Stratford into a modernised and popular area that attracts many visitors daily from different countries making it an incredibly busy area.

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(Greig, R. 2013, Fridge Mountain)

As you can see from the image above, the area transformed as they stripped away old material whilst restoring some existing structure and injected more greenery into the area.

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(Greig, R. 2013, Olympic park)

The Olympics was the perfect publicised event to mediate the new and improved Stratford. The event attracted millions of people which meant more money was being spent in the area.

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(Smith, S. 2014)

Despite the enormous development, the ‘old Stratford’ still firmly remains in some areas. As you can see in the image above, the new apartments stand impressive, but the old homes  still remain in their original space.  The picture clearly shows a juxtaposition between the new and the old. The new Stratford doesn’t compliment the old Stratford, instead it ignores the old spirit of the area as some areas have been given a modern identity. The change in architecture presents the theme of Post Modernism, that Stratford and many other places in East London are now embracing.

Volkery (2012) interestingly pointed out:
“Emerging from one of the many subway, bus and train connections that stop at Stratford’s train station, a visitor has two options. Either follow the pink signs to the Olympic Park through the Westfield shopping center, past an Apple Store, a Lego shop and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s new restaurant. That’s the new Stratford. Or walk across the street into a dilapidated shopping mall from the 1970s. The Stratford Center is the gateway to High Street, the main thoroughfare of this immigrant neighborhood. There’s no Starbucks here. This is the old Stratford.The two Stratfords don’t have a lot to do with each other. ”

Clack, D. (2013) Stratford: Then and Now. Available at: http://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/stratford-then-and-now (06 Febrary 2015).

Volkery, C. (2012) Stratford’s Gentrification: Olympics A Mixed Blessing for London’s East End. Available at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/london-olympics-puts-focus-on-gentrification-of-stratford-a-846158.html (06 Febrary 2015).

Greig, R. and Clack, D. and Poultney, D. (2013) Fridge Mountain. Available at: http://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/stratford-then-and-now (Accessed: 6 February 2015)

Greig, R. and Clack, D. and Poultney, D. (2013) Olympic ParkAvailable at: http://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/stratford-then-and-now (Accessed: 6 February 2015)

Greig, R. and Clack, D. and Poultney, D. (2013) Stratford town centreAvailable at: http://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/stratford-then-and-now (Accessed: 6 February 2015)

Smith, S (2014) Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/aug/08/london-olympic-games-legacy-stratford (Accessed: 6 February 2015)

Post by: Abi Groves

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Stratford: what it was and what it has become…