Infrastructure: recycling Olympic venues


Wired  published an article at the start of the 2016 Rio Olympics showing how some of the games’ venues would be recycled once the competition ended. Parts of the aquatics venue (above) will be used to create two public pools. The beachside volleyball stadium will become four elementary schools.

I like this design concept. It reminds me of other innovations in public infrastructure, such as prefab bridges that cut both costs and construction times. But will Rio actually follow through on the promise?

I’ve seen plenty of comments from those who are skeptical. The Brazilian government displaced thousands of people to build the Olympics venue; are they now going to show a more benevolent and sustainable side after the games?

One sign of promise comes from the previous summer games in London in 2012. Four years on, according to a lengthy article in The Guardian, many of the venues are finding new life as integrated parts of local London life. The company that designed London 2012, AECOM, also designed Rio 2016.

Prior to the games, Brazil had a tough year of economic and political turmoil that currently threatens to topple the president. Given the track record of abandoned Olympic sites, people are right to be skeptical at this stage of the Rio games. But at least there was a possibility designed into the games that could make 2016 an inspiration long after the athletes leave.

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