The only advantage in bundling the games with a regeneration project is that expectations of regeneration can become self-fulfilling. Any serious urban rebirth is going to be built on private housing and private business. In part that is a confidence trick: if everyone expects regeneration to happen, it will. And perhaps, just perhaps, the lustre of the games can create confidence where government proposals merely to spend a few billion pounds will not.
Tim Harford has a short but smart piece in the Financial Times on the forthcoming London Olympics.