Before the 2012 Olympics, most Londoners would not have even known about the area, a forgotten wilderness of industrial detritus and overgrown canals, apart from those few who still worked there, and a community of artists who had installed themselves in warehouses around the periphery. But now, a visitor emerging from the vast warren of the Westfield Stratford shopping center, after walking past some new office blocks and rather dubious student housing, will find the park is well used and friendly. Subtle in character, the design has surrounded the cleaned-up waterways with a wild-grass landscape that dates it as a product of the early 2010s, but which is also a genuinely pleasant environment.

The landmarks of the park are mostly fun as well: The stadium, now finally in post-Olympic use as the home of the West Ham United football club, isn’t spectacular but...

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