Nightly News   |  July 30, 2012

The changing face of London

London has become a giant melting pot of cultures and nationalities, but it’s not immediately apparent to tourists. The double-dip recession has hit diverse neighborhoods especially hard. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.

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>>> first timers to the city may be expecting the london of mary poppins . depending where they go and what they see they'll experience something awfully close. out here in the east end where the olympic village is, decidedly off the beaten path, it's a different london as nbc's stephanie gosk shows us tonight.

>> reporter: just down the road from the olympic park the students at kings meet primary are holding their own olympiad with hand made torches held high. these are the faces of a changing london . families from 46 different countries speaking 40 different languages.

>> my parents are from ireland and malaysia. my parents are from ethiopia.

>> my parents are from poland.

>> euna king lives in the shadow of the olympic park too.

>> when i was growing up i was the only mixed race child in my class.

>> reporter: she is the second black woman ever to be elected to parliament.

>> we said if london wins, then the world wins, you know? because london has basically the whole world here.

>> reporter: there are the jamaicans, the indians of brick lane , africans, asians, europeans, muslims, hindus, christians. this is not the london that tourists typically get to see. here the double dip recession has hit hard. unemployment is over 14%.

>> that wealth doesn't trickle down anywhere, you know? they can see it.

>> but they can't get it.

>> but they can't get it.

>> reporter: kingly's economic inequality was a driving force behind london 's riots last year. for five days angry young people battled police, looted, and destroyed their own neighborhoods. the physical recovery from the riots has been slow. but the effort to improve lives is even more difficult. some hope the investment in the olympics will help create new opportunities. the olympic park will be turned into five new neighborhoods with affordable housing and gardens. the nearby mall has already added 10,000 new jobs.

>> it's about affordable homes, jobs, and it's about giving a generation that inspiration. that's it for london 2012 . inspire a generation.

>> reporter: already children at the primary school seem to be getting the olympic message to excel, a truly inspired performance. stephanie gosk, nbc news, london .