First Form Georgraphers visit the Emirates Stadium
With ever growing success at Olympic level and the continuing appeal of the Premier League, it is clear that we have a real connection and affinity to top level athletic action. Over the last few decades, there has been acute awareness that this translates into business opportunity; 4% of the country's GDP comes through sport. One way to increase revenue has been through stadium expansion and redevelopment. Manchester City and Arsenal are two good examples of such actions and even with spiralling tv rights rendering ticket sales less meaningful for club's income, they are still on the lookout for such opportunity. Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea are two excellent examples of urban stadium developments in the pipeline.
What has been to the benefit of the public, is the realisation by local authorities that planning approval for such building works can often be tied to other infrastructure and housing developments, and this is what the First Form went to see at the Emirates Stadium. Whilst engaging in a tour of the local area, and a look around the stadium, the boys learnt how it is not just Arsenal that have benefitted from the new 60,000 arena. Regeneration has improved the environmental quality of the area, a new waste centre has been built, the community centre expanded and affordable housing constructed within the 17 sites that Arsenal regenerated as part of the project. At one stage it was the largest inner city regeneration project in Western Europe.
So, as more clubs look to renovate and expand, we should remember that plans can be used for public good and that local authorities can make real positive partnerships with the private developments put forward. So now Arsenal have worked with the local council to help improve the area, it is over to Chelsea and Tottenham to see if they can also be net contributors to their local communities.