Publication: Progressive convergence between private and public initiatives in city planning and urban policy: the case study of Kerameikos
Urban rehabilitation is defined as a process of improving deprived urban environments through enhancing the physical structure and varying the density established within urban areas. Major initiatives have been introduced to attract residential, transport, economic and leisure uses and activities, resulting in mutations of the spatial, social and economic structure of urban spaces (Nobre, 2002). During the last decades a great amount of urban and social studies has started to acknowledge the significant role and useful experience of these processes in cities on specific case-studies across the world. The de-industrialization and the loss of manufacturing employment in many urban areas have led to the prevalence of consumption-based, arts-led forms of economic regeneration intended to tackle urban problems (Raco, 2002). Extending this discussion to the Athenian context, this paper examines the strategies of urban rehabilitation-regeneration and gentrification in relation to arts-led regeneration, as well as the effects of the progressive co-ordination between private and public urban development initiatives in Kerameikos. This case study serves towards an optimum understanding of the phenomenon, analyzing the practices followed by local authorities and private investors in the regeneration scheme alongside their spatial, social and economic implications. More specifically, the study approaches urban governance policies, focusing on urban enhancement practices and particular policing measures which aim at the extraction of "social pollutants" from certain city neighbourhoods (Urry, 1995). International competition among cities has led to the implementation of policies favoring investors and private capital to the detriment of the local population (Harvey, 2000). Further to a brief assessment of the evolution of urban policies in the Athenian context over the last thirty years, the paper interrogates the social and spatial landscape of Kerameikos, taking into account the obstacles posed by the financial crisis in implementing and evolving the gentrification agenda and, consequently, in developing the real estate market. Urban enhancement interventions regarding both the physical environment and the social composition had been made in the pre-crisis period, however the outburst of the economic crisis put an end to an era of soaring land prices and to the “intrusion” of higher income groups. It is worth noting that the population composition has been partially dominated by distinct cultural groups of middle-low social strata.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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