Olympic Champions

EDAW, the firm that got the bid for the 2012 games in London, has mastered the art of designing winning urban schemes

Jason Prior embodies a growing trend in place making: the merging of landscape architecture and urban planning. Trained in both professions, Prior heads EDAW's European operations out of the London office and spearheaded the planning effort behind the city's successful bid last year for the 2012 Olympics. The scheme — seen largely as an upset — was smartly packaged, presenting the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with a less monolithic model (proposing to reduce, for example, the 80,000-seat stadium to 25,000 after the games). Locally it was sold as a tool for regenerating an industrial part of East London called the Lower Lea Valley. In an attempt to gauge community sentiment and build a case for the Olympics, Prior's team did about 70 public consultation events in three months. Consequently the bid generated largely positive feelings in London.

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