- Title: Paris 2024 Olympics aims at transforming suburbs through regeneration
- Date: 1st August 2017
- Summary: SIGN WITH PARIS 2024 LOGO AND SIGN READING (French): "REGION OF SEINE SAINT-DENIS, HOST SITE"
- Embargoed: 15th August 2017 15:19
- Keywords: Paris 2024 Olympic Games Seine-Saint-Denis regeneration in Paris suburb investment in Seine-Saint-Denis Olympic sites
- Location: ANIMATION / LA COURNEUVE, BOBIGNY, PARIS AND SAINT-DENIS, FRANCE
- City: ANIMATION / LA COURNEUVE, BOBIGNY, PARIS AND SAINT-DENIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Olympics,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA0036SBS5ZB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: One of the most deprived suburbs of Paris is expected to be a big winner now the French capital is in line to host the 2024 Olympics with thousands of homes and a new swimming centre to be built in Seine-Saint-Denis for the games.
The poorest of France's 101 mainland departments, Seine-Saint-Denis sprawls east and north from Paris, much of it a drab expanse of grey buildings, abandoned factories and poverty.
Unemployment in and around the area's main towns of Bobigny and Saint-Denis is approaching double the national average -- at more than 18 percent.
Three out of 10 of its 1.5 million strong population are immigrants, or the children of immigrants, and a similar proportion are classed as living in poverty.
Organisers of the games say their aim to lift the area's fortunes helped their case with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Paris learned on Monday (July 31) that it was a near certainty as the IOC's chosen host for the 2024 games when its only remaining rival, Los Angeles, agreed to wait another four years.
"Bearing in mind the symbolic and real divides which there sometimes still are between Paris and its suburbs -- this young, working class place, with young people of all colours and all origins allows us to say to the IOC that these games are a wonderful opportunity to show that Paris is bigger than Paris," Stephane Troussel, President of the Seine-Saint-Denis region, told Reuters.
Not all locals are sure of the benefits however. Some have half an eye on Stratford, an area of east London that was redeveloped for the 2012 games, but where rising rents have pushed locals out of similarly created new housing there.
Paris 2024 Bid Leader Tony Estanguet said the physical legacy of the 2012 games in London inspired France's candidacy.
The Paris games, which have a relatively modest budget by recent standards at around 7 billion euros ($8.27 billion), will leave behind only two permanent new developments, both of them in Seine-Saint-Denis.
They are the Olympic Village itself, which will be converted after the games to provide more than 3,500 homes, and an aquatics centre to stand alongside the Stade de France stadium, built for the 1998 football World Cup, now to be reborn as the Olympic Stadium where track and field athletes will compete.
At a run-down local pool on a site that will be transformed into a water polo venue, children splashed during a visit by Reuters.
"Even if we don't come from the same social background, I think we're the same in sport, we are brought closer together," said sports activity leader Jose Defaria, aged 22.
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