It’s been over 12 years since Athens International Airport moved from the Elliniko area, a significant coastal area of Attica, to its new home in Spata. Since then, there is an ongoing debate between the State, private investors, social movements and institutions, like the National Technical University of Athens with its Urban Environment Laboratory, on propositions for Elliniko area including the adjacent St. Cosmas coast. This debate is currently culminating given that, since July 2011, the public area of Elliniko, under the austere economical squeeze by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, has been comprised in the privatization plans for the reduction of the State Debt.
The Greek State, in an effort to “grease” the privatization procedures and attract investors, has promised to offer all the necessary infrastructure for the area and flexibility in urban uses. In this context, some have dreamed of an “Athenian Las Vegas,” others a “Monaco-style area,” and others the creation of a new business center like that of “The City of London.”
At the same time, successive Greek governments have promised that the area of Elliniko would be converted into the greatest park of the Metropolitan area of Athens and, in this way, the dramatic lack of green spaces in Attica would be counterbalanced. This lack has become even more evident since the devastating fires in 2007 and the uncontrolled urban growth towards new areas. Elliniko, due to its great proximity to the city center, will have a new metro station inaugurated in the next few months, which will also support this ideal area for leisure and relaxation.
Furthermore, studies of the Urban Environmental Laboratory of N.T.U.A. have shown that Elliniko would be able to host cultural and sport uses because of its existing rich building reserve. Subsequently, the income made from these uses could partially cover the maintenance expenses of the park and, in this way, secure a more balanced and sustainable growth of the area.
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