“Rethink Athens” is a project organized and funded by the “Onassis Foundation” whose objective is to improve the everyday life of Athenian citizens, by transforming the center of the Greek capital. “Rethink Athens” will be realized by a European competition which will indicate a winning architect (person or legal entity) to undertake the design of a new sustainable city center in Athens. More specifically, this architectural intervention will have as main axis Panepistimiou Street and it will also include Omonoia Square (Map A to B). The target is to connect regions of Athens of historical and traditional significance, such as the new Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, Monastiraki square and Thisseio (Map A to D).
A transformation of Athens urban planning may result in the following:
Concerning transportation, a lot will change as central areas will be pedestrianised, the circulation of tramway will be extended and two way streets will be converted to one-ways. Using the car at the center of the city will not be a necessity, unless there is an important reason. Otherwise, the driver will lose time dealing with several one-way streets within the main axis of Athens. A restructuring of the transportation network is therefore essential.
At this time of economic recession in Greece, the architecture firms participating in the competition may find it difficult to cover the necessary expenses. However, the cash prizes received by each proposal selected to proceed to the second stage of the competition will assist those interested in proceeding to the next phase. Nine proposals have reached the second phase of the competition and finalists will have three months to submit their final proposals. In a general disbelief that anything can change in Greece right now, can this project make it to completion? It remains to be seen if the proposals are feasible and above all if the citizens themselves support the project.
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