2015 | Dec
Starting in late 2009, the new Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (YPEKA) with its departments and supervising organisations, intensively crafted the first integrated framework to address sustainably critical issues of the city and the metropolitan area. The “ATHENS-ATTICA 2014 Project”, as it was named, was published in magazine format (figure 1) and presented in June 2010. The name did not intend to have a reference with regards to its completeness, but was a symbol of a missed opportunity at city level: 10 years after the Olympic Games, it was imperative to proceed with the needed spatial, developmental and environmental changes which were not implemented following the completion of the games.
Figure 1: Cover of the YPEKA Issue “ATHENS-ATTICA 2014”
The Project reflected an integration of various visions, and proposed a set of strategic actions for Athens and Attica. Major projects were also included, such as the intervention along the emblematic axis of Panepistimiou Street -as a key strategy to re-program mobility in the city centre, or the creation of the already planned but seriously delayed Metropolitan Park at Faliron Bay, and the partial pedestrianization of Vasilissis Olgas Avenue (figure 2) which would complete the large central archaeological promenade.
Figure 2: Rehabilitation of Vasilissis Olgas Avenue
At the dawn of crisis, it was already understood that the city needed to adapt to a changing world and the importance of planning while taking into account new types of synergies and procedures, was stressed. The project’s main objectives were the sustainable development balancing production and ecology, the promotion of an awareness about how we move in the city and how we perceive it, the rehabilitation of lagging areas with degraded building stock, the modern day definition of an image for the metropolis, and the conservation of its natural and cultural wealth. The work comprises the priorities, methodology and mechanisms, and reveals the set targets for the new Athens and Attica Regulatory Plan.
The structure of its four chapters reveals the new logic ruling the project. The first chapter, “Improving the City’s Functions and Image”, records emblematic and other smaller projects, several of which have been launched. Many issues, such as seeking methods to upgrade Pireos Street, were incorporated in a research project appointed to the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), the outcome of which provided the basic information for the architectural competition regarding the intervention along Panepistimiou Street. The research project also analysed the double pole of the city centres of Athens and Piraeus and their dynamic relation. After years of not producing design work, the Ministry prepared through the Direction of Special Projects for Local Improvement (DEEAP) studies for such interventions as Ag. Panteleimon Sq. and Agorakritou street (figure 3), Attikis Sq. and Ag. Nikolaos Sq., and the preliminary study for the regeneration of the area comprising the old Refugee Buildings in Kaisariani. The same chapter includes an upgrading or reconstruction by adopting new approaches of various city regions, and a pilot study conducted by the SARCHA group for the Gerani area of the degraded Center; also the large metropolitan project of the former airport at Elliniko emphasising the creation of a Metropolitan Park, the Port and industrial zone of Drapetsona-Keratsini, Eleonas, and the Metropolitan Parks of Goudi and “A. Tritsis”. Finally, the work highlights the need for legal-institutional arrangements, policies and financial tools that are necessary for the implementation of the above.
Figure 3: Ag. Panteleimonas Square
The second chapter, “Sustainable Urban Mobility in Attica” raised the urgent issue of how to change our attitudes in moving and perceiving the city in new terms (figure 4). The third chapter, “Protection and sustainable management of the countryside and the mountains of Attica” stressed the need to protect the natural environment (figure 5) and limit sprawl to regions outside the city plan, which was later confirmed by the proposals set by a new Regulatory Plan. Finally, the 4th chapter, “Sustainable management of the coastal zone of Attica” prioritises the opening of the city to the Saronic Gulf and the rest of the coastal area. The lack of green spaces in Athens is balanced by the presence of many coasts inside its urban fabric, which add value as open spaces. The work lists a number of terms and conditions for addressing informal structures and other problems, and ends with a list of key actions, many of which were planned but never implemented.
Figure 4: Traffic problems and the need for sustainable mobility
- ΥΠΕΚΑ (2010) Αθήνα – Αττική 2014. Αθήνα.