April 08 2013

A Short River Story from Athens, Greece

Kifisos is a principal watercourse of the Attica basin which springs from mountains of Parnitha and Penteli, run through downtown Athens and eventually discharges into Saronikos Bay. Just before emptying into the sea, for a stretch of 20klm, river Kifisos has been regrettably covered by transportation infrastructure as means to avoid expensive expropriations. At its northern uncovered part, Kifisos has been turned into a rubbish dump and toxic area due to manufactories and encroachments of the river banks. Despite the establishment of a special regime of protection for a buffer zone of 50m. along the river banks, the conditions haven’t improved yet, while the current economic crisis further diminishes any positive prospects for the future of Kifisos.

However, an alternative plan, that was designed and developed on a voluntary basis, by a team of urbanists and architects led by professor V.Zotos, proposes the complete regeneration of the uncovered urbanized part of the river.

Athens, Greece River

The suggestion involves the transformation of Kifiso’s linear urban void into a continuous linear green park that will work both as an air-conditioning corridor for the adjacent areas and as an inducement to Athenians for a quick escape while providing the opportunity for tourists to enjoy the Athenian landscape.

Athens, Greece River

More specifically, activity areas, river bank improvements, additional green areas, photovoltaics and a sophisticated water management system for irrigation purposes, that would also work against flooding problems, have been proposed on a local level. At the same time, a long-term dream of the team is to completely eliminate the highways from the south part of the river and give the city back its river.

Athens, Greece River

In which ways does your city’s river offer opportunities for relaxation, recreation and sustainable development?

Credits: Data linked to sources, photo copyright of Alkisti Eleni Victoratou, map design based on this original map.

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, April 8th, 2013 at 9:48 am and is filed under Architecture, Environment, Landscape Architecture, 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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