Occasionally on the news, we read stories about how in some countries like China where the economy has suddenly boomed, there are areas called ghost towns. These are vast areas where buildings have been planned, built and erected but not a single person lives in them. They are utterly deserted, as if they are contaminated with the renmants of a nuclear blast.
However, there are areas like this which are being made over the world, intentionallly. Look at sporting events such as the Olympics, Paralympics or the football World Cup; events which spark tremendous interest as people flock in their thousands to the host country.
That of course is exactly where the problem lies, the host country builds great infrastructure to cater for the infulx of visitors who will flood the area in staggering numbers but once the event is over, the tide recedes. It can be as sudden as turning the light off in a room.
These thoughts were sparked as the bus I was travelling on drove through the ‘Olympic City’ in Stratford, London. Huge expanses of land, wide roads and pavements as well as great bus stations and and an international train station; all utterly deserted. I could not help but feel that the money spent on the Olympics had been a huge waste. The wide, bare and open land is shocking when you think about the thousands living in London who are desperately seeking homes to live in. Surely, this land could now be utilised to build affordable housing?
In all honesty, these events that are fought over only benefit the elite of the host country. Look at Brazil, the people have taken up the slogan “a cup for whom?” These events are definitely not the boosts to the economy that they are promoted as being. They merely create a short boom which often results in a big bust.
Another example is Qatar which is in the process of building stadiums for the 2022 world cup. Despite their vast wealth, it is difficult to see these stadiums being of any use onece the world cup is over. It is mind-boggling to be told of the billions that are spent on these events whilst millions of people seek shelter and are in desperate need of help.
So whilst we stare in awe at the vast building, stadiums and amazing sights, we must think about whether these things have actually benefitted the people living there and whether more can be done to help the local community.
Until Next Time
A Worried Student