I think it's great that the Millennium Dome hosted homeless for Christmas - what a great idea. Whilst clearly not something that would work on a long term basis, big, community projects like these are exactly what the dome should be used for. Using it for accommodation isn't new - the dome was also used for London Social Forum delegates - but I like it because it treats the dome as exactly what it looks like - one huge tent. In the words of Ken Livingstone:
I have always considered the Dome to be one of London's most beautiful structures and I knew it would be very useful at some point.
It has been used for other things since the exhibition closed at the end of 2000 though. Over the Christmas holiday a year ago, it was home to a temporary theme park, with a rollercoaster, rides and an ice rink. In previous years there have been big rave-type club nights on New Year's Eve.
News on the long-term development of the dome has gone on ever since the end of 2000. Originally, the government optimistically held a 'competition' to find a buyer, unfortunately, all of the 'winners' pulled out. It was eventually agreed that 'Anschutz Entertainment Group', who run big international sporting and concert venues, would be allow to lease the dome for free, returning a cut of profits to the government. The rest of the area will be developed for commercial and residential use. There have been reports that some of the dome might become a casino, mostly leaked by the Evening Standard, but few details of plans have actually emerged so far.
Who knows what developments we'll see in 2005. Watch that space...