The latest Catalan Observatory event on Sports, Socialisation and Economic Development, held on 8 June 2010, was particularly topical. Barcelona had hosted the 1992 Olympics, with Britain set to hold the 2012 event. A day of round table discussions reflected the expertise of each partner, with panellists including Pedro Fontana, the Director of the Commercial Barcelona Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, and LSE's Ricky Burdett, Chief Adviser on Architecture and Urbanism, Olympic Delivery Authority for London 2012.
The public lecture was opened by Anna Pruna, General Secretary for Sport of the Government of Catalonia. She spoke of how significant the 1992 Games had been for Catalonia, constituting 'a turning point in the transformation of the city and its worldwide impact'. Charles Wijeratwa, Director of Commercial Negotiations for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, described the power of the Games to draw people together. He noted the importance of social media in communication about the Games, particularly to draw in the youth. Seventy-seven per cent of the spending on the 2012 Olympics is to regenerate the deprived areas where the events will take place, with the sports arenas subsequently incorporated into the community.
Eighteen years on, Catalonia is still reaping the benefits of the 1992 Olympics. The UK, too, plans that 2010 will change London's landscape and indeed its future.
The Catalan Observatory was launched in October 2009 and is managed by LSE Enterprise. It holds seminars, workshops and publications, providing a platform for research and debate.