State, citizens and private investors have been vindicating the area of Eleonas in Athens for the last six years. The area of 9,000 square meters extends in the south-west boroughs of Peristeri, Egaleo, St. John Renti, Tavros and Athens and form the area of Eleonas.
Eleonas is regarded as another “back yard” of Athens, in close proximity to the city center and between significant transportation axis. Eleonas, once a fertile and green district, gradually turned into an industrialized and degraded area during the 60s. Nowadays, it is an unorganized and polluted region gathering warehouses, private and public transportation, with a low residential density in a highly urbanized context.
In 1995, a promising Presidential Decree was voted aiming at the conversion of 35% of the area into an open green space of supra-local radiation. However, since 2006, a big debate began over a new law of “the double regeneration” voted in defiance of the decree of ’95. The aforementioned legislation was giving the green light for the relocation of the Panathinaikos (PAO) football stadium from its current position in Alexandra’s avenue into one of the most significant parts of Eleonas. In addition to the football stadium, was the anticipation of the construction of the new municipality hall, a small municipal commercial center, and a commercial mega-mall of questionable legality in a neighboring plot by a private investor.
However, citizens are fighting against this kind of urban planning based on the speculation of land. Through legal processes, the “Citizens Committee to Save Eleonas” have succeeded in halting the construction of the Mall that would:
- Irreversibly affect the area of Eleonas and lead to the gradual “cementification” of the broader area through the rise of land values;
- Lead to closing of small businesses and commercial uses;
- Would deprive Athens a new park and a more sustainable future for the area.
Have you, as a city dweller, ever been in a similar situation? What do you think about land speculation?
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