‘This is a private-public park’: Encountering architectures of spectacle in post-Olympic London

Mara Ferreri*, Kim Trogal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Since the end of the 2012 Olympic Games, London’s residents and tourists have been awaiting the spectacular redevelopment of the former Olympic venue into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (QEOP), which comprises the city’s ‘newest park’. As the most visible legacy of the Games, it has become a key test case for demonstrating the public interest of London 2012 and its legacy. In this article we engage with the park in the first year after its opening, when it became the site of a range of public cultural projects commissioned by the London Legacy Development Corporation, which manages post-Olympic redevelopment. Through observant participation in one such commission, a six-month mobile residency on site, we gained insights into the tensions emerging from claims to publicness in the making of this new ‘private-public park’, further explored through interviews and visual methods. We propose the term architectures of spectacle to analyse the logic expressed in the design and management of the park and discuss its articulation across three dimensions: (in)visibility, micro-regulation and disorientation. We critically analyse each of these elements and their relationship to competing claims of publicness and the ‘security legacy’ of the Games, raising wider questions about the spectacular public performance of the post-Olympic legacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-526
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


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