Over the years, the host nations of the Summer and Winter Olympics have made sure that their international participants—athletes, coaches, and the media—are well cared for in places that have been dubbed Olympic Villages. Often, these residential facilities are built from the ground up and are designed to keep their temporary inhabitants comfortable as they compete for medals in all sorts of sporting events.
These Olympic Villages really are cities within cities; they always include apartments where participants will sleep during their stay, and some have special extras such as convenience stores, practice areas, and open parks. But once the festivities are over and done with, do you know what host countries do to these villages?
While there are some villages that are too large and expensive to finance and have since been abandoned, such as the 2004 Athens Olympic Village, many nations have turned these venues into permanent housing communities that serve residents ranging from students to entire families. Below are some of the Olympic Villages that continue to thrive today even years after serving as quarters to some of the greatest athletes of the world.
London 2012 Summer Olympics
East Village London for 2012 Olympics. Photo courtesy of Sludge G via Flickr Creative Commons
Stratford’s East Village was designed in such a way that it could be transformed into a new residential district after the London 2012 Summer Olympics. When it was built, it was able to house 17,000 athletes and officials, and also contained a temporary food hall, an entertainment center, and a plaza. Now, the former Olympic housing complex is home to over 5,500 residents and several retail hubs, and a building originally built for organizing and managing teams during the Olympics has now been transformed into a school. More developments are in the pipeline, such as new residential areas ranging from affordable to high-end to cater to various buyers.
Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics
Vancouver 2010 Olympic Village. Photo courtesy of Kamiri78 via Wikimedia Creative Commons
Located in Vancouver’s Southeast False Creek, the Olympic Village for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics comprised more than 1,100 units that served as homes for athletes, coaches, and officials. In an effort to promote green building, developers incorporated sustainable elements to the project, such as solar heating and green roofs, all of which helped the village earn a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum rating. After the Olympics, the village was transformed into a residential area and developed further as a mixed-use community with more condos and amenities open for its residents’ use.
Turin 2006 Winter Olympics
Turin 2006 Olympic Village. Photo courtesy of Jean-Pierre Dalbéra via Wikimedia Creative Commons
The Olympic Village located in the Italian city of Turin—locally Torino—is composed of large, brightly painted concrete buildings that housed the athletes of the 2006 Winter Olympics as well as the media covering the spectacle. Currently, it is said to be serving as a home to over 1,100 migrants from 30 African countries, turning it into the largest housing occupation in the city. These refugees reportedly arrived from Libya when they were forced to migrate during the 2011 civil war and ended up in the Turin Olympic Village, where they began settling in 2013.
Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics
University of Utah - Chapel Glen. Photo courtesy of Jake via Flickr Creative Commons
Salt Lake City in Utah was the venue for the Winter Olympics held in February 2002, where around 2,400 people from 78 countries participated in 78 events. Back in 2002, the University of Utah was chosen as the village where athletes would be hosted, leading to the construction of several residence halls and apartments within the campus. Presently, the area has been renamed Heritage Commons, which is now being used as housing for undergraduate students. Close to the residences, facilities such as ice rinks, ski jump, bobsleds, and ski resorts built for the 2002 Olympics are continuously serving as training grounds for serious athletes and recreation for tourists.
Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics
Newington Olympic Village. Photo courtesy of J Bar via Wikimedia Creative Commons
In 1997, a $590 million contract was signed to build a housing facility that would host participants of the 2000 Sydney Olympic and Paralympic Games in Newington. The project involved the construction of almost 900 townhouses, 700 apartments, and 300 modular homes that would accommodate over 15,300 competitors and team officials for the Olympics, and then the 7,500 participants and officials of the Paralympics. Several sustainable features like solar panels and water-recycling facilities were built into the community, and the village was in fact the largest solar-powered suburb in the world during its time. Later on, the entire property was sold off into private ownership and eventually transformed into a residential suburb. Now, as a thriving family-friendly community, Newington residents have seen the development of other facilities and industries within the neighborhood, including a racecourse, boys’ school, hospital, brickyards, and the Newington Armoury for the Australian Navy’s armaments.
Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics
North Avenue Apartments. Photo courtesy of Hector Alejandro via Flickr Creative Commons
The campus of Georgia Institute of Technology played a significant part in the 1996 Summer Olympics when it served as a venue for several events, as well as the temporary home for athletes and journalists of the games. For the competition, a number of structures were built in Georgia Tech, including several apartment buildings, as well as the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center for swimming events. After the Olympics, Georgia State University acquired the Olympic Village housing complex as its first on-campus student dormitories. In 2007, ownership of the dormitories was transferred to Georgia Tech, who then renamed the facilities the North Avenue Apartments.
Barcelona 1992 Summer Olympics
La Vila Olímpica del Poblenou. Photo via Shutterstock
Located in the district of Sant Martí, La Vila Olímpica del Poblenou—or the Olympic Village of Poblenou—was home to athletes who came to Spain to participate in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. As a true success story, the development of the Olympic Village involved revitalizing a previously derelict industrial site in the district, as well as the regeneration of large areas of the city’s coastline. After the games, the area continued to flourish as a residential and educational area, as well as a home to several tourist-friendly sports and leisure establishments like the Casino de Barcelona and the marina Port Olímpic.
This article originally appeared in Lamudi Philippines