DEP – The journey so far

The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were a catalyst for change and a platform to regenerate east London.

Today, SHIFT represents the next level in the London 2012 Olympic legacy. Innovation naturally started taking place at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the years following the Games. Then, seven cross-sector organisations came together and committed to build on this activity to have maximum impact – through partnership, investment and a mission-led approach to solve some of the big challenges of our time.

Here’s a few milestones in the story so far.

Construction at QEOP
A legacy set in motion

The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games take place after a great deal of planning, with a world-first legacy mission to deliver fundamental economic, social and environmental change within east London.

London is ‘the most accessible Games ever’, with venues designed to be inclusive for all users.

The swimming pool at London Aquatics Centre
Open for business

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park starts to open up to the public – the quickest post-Games transformation ever.

The first pool pod is introduced at London Aquatics Centre to make it easier and more dignified for disabled swimmers to get in and out of the pool.

Community leadership

Legacy Youth Board is launched. This involves 18–24 year olds from Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest who help London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) meet its regeneration objectives by giving a youth perspective on key strategic priorities and design of the Park legacy.

Echo – a new social enterprise is established out of community volunteering – creating a nationwide network of local time banks where resources, services and other support are exchanged through non – monetary transactions.

A framework for climate action

This year was significant on a global level as a breakthrough year where 196 state parties, including the UK, negotiated a new climate agreement to determine, plan and report on national greenhouse has emissions, mitigation, adoption and finance. Its goal is to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

Climate change mitigation and adoption continues to play a significant part in work to regenerate Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Innovators move in

Here East opens to tenants, transforming the Games temporary press and broadcasting centres into a permanent enterprise and education campus; an eclectic mix of large – and small-scale organisations focused on innovation and making.

Global Disability Innovation Hub launched at UCL’s new UCL East campus, a research and practice centre dedicated to driving disability innovation for a fairer world.

Award-winning ‘Design…Engineer…Construct!’ built environment education programme is launched in schools/colleges across east London to support young people to discover unique pathways into architecture, engineering and construction careers.

Capri trial
A number of firsts

In 2017, autonomous shuttle buses are trialled at the Park, enabling visitors to experience a new and developing technology.

In 2018, Bird becomes the first electric scooters rental company to launch in the UK with a trial on private paths on the Park.

In 2019, Driverless Pods are trialled with members of the public at the Park, paving the way for the use of connected and autonomous (CAV) transport services in the future.

During these years, the Park becomes home to London’s most innovative skills and training programmes. Flipside is designed for young people with an interest in building a career in digital design and Hobs  3D/VR/AR Training Academy makes 3D training accessible to everyone.

At the same time, the Committee on Climate Change announces that the UK must reach zero-emissions by 2050 if the global temperature increase is to stay under 1.5 degrees Celsius.

London's 2030 challenge

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announces a target for London to be net zero carbon by 2030.

It is clear that to achieve this ambitious goal, it is crucial for innovators to develop, demonstrate and scale-up solutions that drive transformation in London.

Accelerating action

COP26 takes place in Glasgow to accelerate actions towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Convention on Climate Change. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park plays host to fringe events – a chance for the local community’s voice to be heard in relation to the climate emergency.

Opening of Good Growth Hub at the Park, bringing together people and businesses in east London to offer career opportunities, training and skills to 18- to 30-year-olds in our community, and fresh new talent to local businesses.

Opening of Build East – a purpose-built green skills centre of excellence in collaboration with The Skills Centre and Transport for London.

Some of our podcast participants at the SHIFT launch
Shifting gears

The official launch of SHIFT on the 10 year anniversary of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. Driven by global events, local challenges and the Mayor’s response to the Climate Emergency, a group of partners come together to commit to turbocharging innovation on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in order to build better urban futures through action in the areas of climate emergency response, health and wellbeing, and movement.

SHIFT calls for entrepreneurs, investors, and commissioners to join in a spirit of collaboration and creativity, exploration and experimentation.

The testbed is open for business.
See latest projects

Find out more about how we’re working to deliver better urban futures. Join our mailing list.

Join our mailing list

Get access to our ecosystem of innovators, opportunities and partnerships in east London.

Join the ecosystem