here in chicago the buzz around town is the city’s bid for the 2016 olympic games. i must say, when chicago’s mayor daley wants to do something right he is more than capable. the city is more than ready to handle the olympics; we have plenty of convention centers, waterways, oublic parks, public transportation, and of course, sporting venues (see the recent chicago tribune article). the bid calls for the use of the united center, the uic pavilion, northerly island, north avenue beach, soldier field, the lakefront, grant park, northwestern university and mccormick place among others (see the venue map and venue images here) and if baseball and softball are reimplimented as olympic sports we could be seeing olympic baseball at wrigley field! as part of an attempt to bring the games to the entire region horseback riding events will be brought to neighboring lake county and soccer and other sporting prelims will be spread out among the region’s myriad of colleges and universities. it is important to note that public transportation both locally and regionally is mighty strong chicago. sure the “L” (what we call our system of elevated trains here in chicago) is old and is in need of some major overhauls (much of which is already under way) but all said it’s a very thorough network. combine that with metra’s system of hundreds of miles of regional railways shuffling people in and out of downtown to places as far away as wisconsin, indiana, and central illinois. one drawback of the city’s bid, however, is the proposal for a $350 million, 90,000 seat temporary olympic stadium. soldier field is capable of only seating just over 60,000 people which is not enough for an opening/closing ceremony:
lynn becker over at arcchicago (scroll down the page a bit to find the article) had a great question regarding the relevance of such an expensive stadium when it is only temporary. regardless, i think the single most positive aspect of the bid is the fact that win or lose, the city plans on following through with all the system overhauls and public building projects (less the temporary stadium of course) for the greater good of the city. if the final result is anything like the architectural shine of the recently proposed renderings it will be a great thing for chicago:
the only place i differ with the city on the bid is their proposal to turn the olympic village residences into yuppie condos post-games. personally, i would like to see them become mixed income, mixed use, social housing/market rate units. the games could present the city with a major opportunity to revamp the way we look at/treat social housing. think of the statement of value it would make to take something as important as an olympic village and turn it into mixed use, mixed income facilities.