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Lending a hand to London's Olympic Games bid

Lend Lease developed the Sydney Olympic village for the Australian Games in 2000. Joanna Booth spoke to Keith Perry, urban community chief executive officer at Lend Lease, about London's 2012 bid

Have we got what it takes to win?

We know the International Olympic Committee is putting an enormous emphasis on the legacy the games can leave behind.The challenge for the cities is to make sure their bids drive long-term regeneration.With so much going on in the Lea Valley already we've definitely got that element but there are so many different aspects to look at. Commitment counts for a lot, from the Government and the local communities. Sydney provided an amazing party atmosphere.London can offer heritage backdrops.

How was Lend Lease involved with Sydney's bid?

We built and project-managed some of the largescale facilities like the aquatic centre, helped develop the Olympic village and seconded project managers into the bid company to organise major project procurement, security and ticketing.

How does the London challenge compare with Sydney's bid?

There was a similar community redevelopment theme - large-scale planned projects with homes, offices and leisure facilities taking 20-30 years. In Sydney we provided 5,000 new homes in the suburb of Newington. It's also one of the largest solar-powered communities in the world but that's easier with the Aussie weather. Some units were made immediately available but others were reconfigured from athletes'accommodation.The Lend Lease team always said you have to think of it like you're designing a theatre.The Olympics is the first show but the critical thing is you can then use it long term.

What would be the best news about winning the bid for the construction industry?

We shouldn't just get distracted by the big stadiums.

Contractors need to look long term. It's not just the Olympic facilities, although they are major projects.

The industry will get the benefit of having a constant workflow in the Gateway for the next 20 years.

There can be a different approach to training because the workforce can stay in location. It would give us a wonderful opportunity to improve the way the construction model works.

Lend Lease is a founding member of the London Development Agency's property forum.Who else is involved?

There are a number of us from the property world, like Land Securities, Stanhope, Quintain and Tishman.The point is to make connections early on so we can plan for the wider impact.We've had one preliminary meeting and we'll get together again at Mipim.

A large proportion of developments seem to be going ahead with or without the Olympics.What advantages would winning bring?

It would pull together all the different regeneration schemes.This is the answer to dealing with the infrastructure challenges. If a scheme is going to benefit the maximum number of people, it's a lot easier to find funding.