Damages caused by Budapest Olympics

a) Our cultural heritage is in danger

According to the visual plans submitted with Budapest’s application, the city’s landscape would be drastically redefined. A number of the new sports facilities built would be placed on the Banks of the Danube, which are UN World Heritage Sites. The maintenance of the historical landscape of the city is in everyone’s interest, it is therefore important to find harmony amongst the modern and classical buildings. Regulators often ignore this and act like as if the capital city’s architectural treasures were part of a playground: As such, let’s just think of the relocation of the Prime Minister’s office to the Buda Castle.

b) Damage sustained by the environment due to the Budapest Olympics

The Olympic Games in Budapest would not only greatly affect the city’s landscape, but would also upset it’s natural environment. Some constructions could bring about irreversible damage to the environment and could lead to the disappearance of green areas.  The case of the bicycle race course (the location of which was changed multiple times and one of the options considered was a natural reserve) clearly shows how negligent is Budapest’s bid for the Olympics and how uncaring it is for the city’s environment.

The bid’s success would bring about significant constructions and due to the negligence of the government this could cause damage to specially protected ecosystem of Budapest. The new roads and buildings could lead to the cutting of trees in neighbouring areas which has become a regular practice in Budapest (for which there have been a number of examples such as the famous case of the Varosliget or liquidation of the Benczur-garden) and this could lead to a further decrease in the number trees and green areas in Budapest. The environmental aspect of the Budapest Olympics is only an illusion, it’s purpose is to convince the international community but yet it does not provide real solutions for protecting existing green areas or creating new ones.

c) The aggravation of regional inequalities

The plans of the 2024 bid mostly affect Budapest, therefore would provide little benefit to the country’s poorer regions. Budapest would not cover all the costs alone though, and this could lead to the expansion of the wealth gap between the capital, smaller cities and villages. Although the concept includes a few locations in larger cities in the countryside (eg. Gyor and Szekesfehervar), investments in these areas would likely only include sports facilities. Larger, system-wide action which could benefit the country’s poorer regions is barely considered.  The Olympic Games would just aggravate the regional inequalities within Hungary, which are one of the main causes of the division in Hungarian society

– by Sandor Miklos Kadar; translated by Kornél Kőműves