Hosting the Olympics is a huge honor for cities. At the same time, it’s an expensive burden. As Los Angeles plans for its summer 2028 games, many people say the event will be neither as sustainable or equitable as city leaders have promised.
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Mayor Eric Garcetti has said the games — with an estimated $7 billion price tag — will have “no impact” on L.A., neither damaging the environment nor adding debt. Part of the way he plans to accomplish this is a no-build policy that would repurpose existing structures rather than creating new stadiums. This would prevent residential displacement, limit environmental impact and save money. Most Olympic host cities build like crazy.
However, local activists have noted sneaky ways of getting around the no-build pledge. Over the last five years, three new sports facilities have been approved, two of which have already been completed. Worth $8.5 billion, these facilities will be used during the Olympics. The workaround? Most of the construction took place in Inglewood, not Los Angeles itself. And the stadiums are privately owned.
Inglewood activists are drawing attention to environmental racism. The majority Black and brown community is already stuck between the world’s fourth busiest airport and L.A. County’s second-biggest oil field, plus a couple of extremely busy freeways. Add in the construction noise, increased traffic and accompanying air pollution of creating major sports facilities, and Inglewood residents have had about enough.
“There is a deliberate effort to unravel and dismantle our community for economic profits because they don’t see the land and the people living here as worth anything,” said Alexis Aceves, a member of the Lennox-Inglewood Tenants Union (LITU), as reported by Grist. “They’re trying to act like they just lucked upon already active construction, but there was no way this wasn’t planned.” The LITU has been warning Los Angeles that the 2028 Olympic games will further deteriorate the built and natural environment of Inglewood.
Lead image via Pexels