February 11 2013

Green or Grey? What Color Better Suits The Athenian Eleonas?

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.

Athena 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:

Athena Eleonas

  • 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?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Alkisti Eleni Victoratou

Alkisti Eleni Victoratou originates from Andros, a Cycladic island in Greece, and has lived and studied in Thessaloniki, England, Spain, and Athens-where she currently resides. She holds a B.A. in Economics from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and in Architecture from the National Technical University of Athens. Having this multicultural and interdisciplinary background gives her a better understanding of socially sensitive urban issues. Her dissertation thesis in Architecture dealt with the study and assessment of the legislation relating to Bioclimatic Architecture in the European Mediterranean countries of France, Spain, and Greece. Her interests also extend to sustainable technologies and parametric design, contributing to building design and urbanism. During her internship with The Grid, she will concentrate on the most important top-down and bottom-up urban transformations of Athens during their current Crisis. Her aspirations are to further her academic and professional specializations in urban issues and sustainable design.

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This entry was posted on Monday, February 11th, 2013 at 9:15 am and is filed under Architecture, Community/Economic Development, Environment, Environmental Design, Government/Politics, Infrastructure, Land Use, Social/Demographics, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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