When the Olympic hullabaloo's over, and the marathon's been and run, what next? Does East London end up with a tumbleweed concrete plaza, or will we be bequeathed a vibrant desirable neighbourhood? Experience from most previous Olympic Games suggests the former, but London's determined to be different. Detailed future plans were announcedyesterday, courtesy of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, and they're ambitious to say the least. High-rise waterside quarters (hmmm), rolling natural(ish) parkland and sweeping Georgian-style crescents (yeah right), they're all on their way. It'll take the best part of two decades to transform the area completely, but we're promised the first recreational benefits within a year of the Paralympic closing ceremony.
And the name of this enormous new legacy destination? Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park I don't know about you, but I'm not convinced.
I mean, it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it? It's two completely different concepts rammed together. It's the kind of name a committee might devise, or maybe a royalist sport-obsessed politician. Nobody's ever going to call it this in real life, surely? "Hey Mum, I'm just off up Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park"... it'll never happen. I reckon the name needs slimming down.
No, not slimmed down that far. Not unless you're a republican, that is, in which case you'd be delighted for the octogenarian tyrant to receive no recognition whatsoever. I reckon 'Olympic Park' sounds very 2012, and the new name has to last long beyond 2013.
Queen Elizabeth Park
That's better. Indeed, this is the name the park was going to have before the British Olympic Association stuck their oar in. The name of the monarch who (hopefully) celebrates her Diamond Jubilee in the year of the 2012 Olympics, plus the word park. But no, the BOA put the kybosh on simplicity by insisting that the Olympic brand be maintained. They even wanted £10m for the privilege, because naming rights don't come cheap. I guess we should be pleased that Lloyds TSB, O2 or McDonalds didn't offer to pay more.
Personally, I much prefer this abbreviated version. Surely the word 'Queen' is superfluous, when for most of us the only Elizabeth we know is that old lady on the throne who likes horses. And there's a strong local precedent here - a much-loved greenspace named after her great-great grandmother which nobody would dream of calling Queen Victoria Park.
Give it time, and our new Olympic playgarden will surely get nicknamed Lizzie Park. It'd match Vicky Park up the road, and it has a certain common charm. But I guess we can't leap to this over-familiar stage straight away, because they'd never persuade Queen Lizzie to come down to Stratford to unveil the plaque.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Ah well, it seems this is the official name we're lumbered with. It's clumsy, it's dual-focused and it's nine syllables long. But if nothing else at least it'll act as a lasting reminder of London's golden summer of 2012. I wonder what the general public will finally decide to shorten it to.