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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

A Recyclable Olympic Stadium

Air Date: Week of

A computer-generated image of the 2012 Olympic stadium. (Courtesy of the EPA)

One company proposes removable, reusable stadium seats to minimize leftover space after the Olympics leave town. Kim Gittleson reports.


You’ve heard about Beijing traffic, China’s smog, and toxic algae blooms – now let the Games begin!


GELLERMAN: But first this cool fix for a hot planet from Kim Gittleson.

GITTLESON: The Beijing Olympics are not yet underway but planning for the 2012 London Olympics has already begun.

In keeping with London’s pledge to be the first “sustainable” games, the design for the Olympic Arena proposes another first: a recyclable stadium.


The London Games organizers are trying to avoid the mistakes of Olympics past - especially those empty, unused stadiums on the outskirts of cities like Rome and Montreal.

An computer-generated image of the London 2012 Olympic stadium. (Photo: PR)

The new proposal, designed by an international company called HOK Sports, presents a stadium with a permanent concrete bowl of 25,000 seats. These seats will remain in place after the Olympics for athletics like lower league football and rugby.

Where it gets interesting is at the top of the stadium. This level will have 55,000 “transportable seats” that will be bolted, rather than welded together. That way, the seats can be removed and transported to the next Olympic venue. This top tier will be built out of low-impact materials, including a recyclable fabric façade made out of hemp. The architects hope by minimizing materials they will reduce the expense and environmental impact of transporting the stadium to different locations.

(Courtesy of the EPA)

Chicago has already agreed to take the stadium if it wins the bid for the 2016 games. But organizers hope that by re-using the seats, the cost of the Olympic preparations could decrease enough to give other, poorer, cities the chance to host the Games.

Now that’s worth a gold medal.

That’s this week’s Cool Fix for a Hot Planet. I’m Kim Gittleson.

GELLERMAN: And if you have a Cool Fix for a Hot Planet, we’d like to know it. If we use your idea on the air, we'll send you a very cool electric blue Living on Earth tire gauge. Keep your tires properly inflated and you could save over $500 a year in fuel. That according to a study done at Carnegie Mellon University. Call our listener line at 800-218-9988, that's 800-218-99-88. Or email coolfix—that's one word—at loe.org. That's coolfix at l-o-e dot org.



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