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URBAN DESIGN International

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 22–33 | Cite as

The historic centre of Athens: a tale of decomposition and resilience

  • Eleni Kalantidou
Original Article

Abstract

Athens is full of contradictions; it is formed by incoherence, an anarchic way of doing things and a constant negotiation between communal life and personal survival. This paper focusses on Athens’ fate by exploring the recent history and current state of its historic centre, a space designated as a cultural heritage site that has survived the test of time but is currently facing a multitude of challenges. Five sub-areas and their physical and social transformation are investigated based on bibliographical information including studies and legal frameworks, depicting the impact of gentrification and the hybrid neighborhoods generated by it, while issues of extreme austerity, inconsistent governance, immigrant influx and sprouting forms of resilience are also discussed. The closing part of the paper is dedicated to suggestions for an urban autopoiesis, a condition with the potential to enable the residents of the historic centre to develop their own functional mechanisms of living and well-being and achieve social resilience so as to redirect its doomed prospects. This illustrates one possible scenario out of a few presented in this section regarding Athens’ destiny and its impact on the rest of the world.

Keywords

crisis gentrification urban re-development cultural heritage resilience 

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Griffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia

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