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Perhaps one of the most depressing videos I have ever seen. Athens was a little gem. The amount of buildings that have been pulled down since the 30's is absolutely epic. Many cities get bombed, other redevelop areas. Athens was simply torn apart by rubbish and insensitive developments by like minded people.
This video is totally weird also - weird history, weird statements, better to look with the volume down. Hope you enjoy it. I think it is a total eye opener.

 

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I feel like crying. There should never have been in any new development in centre from the second world war.

Then Athens would have been a top europen destination.

I blame the developers of the modern polykatoikias.
 

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Very interesting video.

I blame the State for not being able to organise or plan for the city's growth.

I blame the citizens for not appreciating what they had.
 

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It's so crazy that re-development was not channeled towards areas that needed it. Poor suburbs, areas created by 1922 refugees would have been hugely improved by postwar polykatoikies - especially the pre-1965 apartment buildings are really nice. Instead, the areas that needed redevelopment got it too late...and the centre that just neede preservation, got redeveloped ad nauseum.

I actually don't find the film weird at all. It says "1930's" all over it - and I love it! Pity it seems to be missing its end. Everything looks so much more civilised...from the buildings to the faces of the people. I think a race of barbarians landed upon our city after WWII...but these barbarians were Greek!
 

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Very interesting video.

I blame the State for not being able to organise or plan for the city's growth.

I blame the citizens for not appreciating what they had.

And, for your information nothing much has changed......the desecration of the City centre continues today.
Well, Nicky, I agree absolutely with the first two statements, but not the third. We got 20000 signatures from all over the world because they wanted to demolish two houses in Dionysioy Areopagitou last year - and we stopped them. Also, there are laws about these things. In the '60s they were knocking down buildings like that every day.
 

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......the desecration of the City centre continues today.
Can you please provide an example of this?

NickyF, everything you say is reflective of someone who has never visited Greece, or only visited once. Your constant pessimism frustrates me because you have gross misconceptions of the country -past and contemporary. It never fails.

The city of Athens was horrifyingly vandalized in the 1960s and 1970s in the name of "progress" along with a massive influx of rural migrants seeing work. This was true then. But it is no longer the case today, for several reasons that I won't go into with you (because I'm tired of repeating myself and giving you history lessons). The current renaissance that Athens is experiencing actually started back in the late 1980s. And while Athens still doesn't meet your standards based on pictures you've seen (or perhaps you've even visited the city once, although I highly doubt that), today's Athens is a vast improvement from 15 years ago. The renovated Plaka, Monastiraki, and Thissio districts, the gentriying Psirri and Gazi districts, the renovation of Syntagma square and surrounding historical buildings, the pedestrianization of Dionysious Aeropagitou St and the unification of archaeological sites, massive investment in subway and light rail systems, the redevelopment of Athens' waterfront, and even the facade renovation of 1920s-early 1960s polykatikies -just to name some things- are all brand new developments. So, if you've been to Athens recently but weren't around to remember what the city was like 15 or 20 years ago, then you have no idea how much the city is consistently improving. It takes time, perserverence, and patience to watch the city transform. And while your concern for the city is greatly needed and appreciated, I also ask of you to please quit being so negative about the city especially given how uninformed you are about the city's history and current developments in the city.

I've said this before: I have no idea what Australia is like. It must be some perfectionist paradise by the way you describe it (albeit a distopia with major skeletons in the closet), but Athens very much resembles American cities (rather than European cities): there was an urban golden age in the late 19th and early 20th century, then a period of neglect and vandalism in the post-WWII era, and then an urban renaissance that started in the 1980s. New York lost a lot of its historical heritage in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1964, Pennsylvania Station (a neoclassical architecural masterpiece) was razed to build Madison Square Garden (a professional basketball arena) which contains the modern Penn station in the underground levels...it's a horrid ugly development, and that's where New Yorkers drew the line, and passed the New York City Landmarks Law in 1965. Similarly, Athens experienced an awakening in the 1980s, and thus entered a period of urban renaissance. It's still far too soon for the city to be where we want it to be, but the statement you made is very far from the truth (like many things you say). For New York, it was another 30 years after the city's awakening before districts like SoHo, Greenwich Village, etc, were renovated, habitable, pleasant disitricts. Athens seems to be redeveloping at a faster pace than New York, actually. Just 20 years ago Pláka was decrepit; Pláka 1988 and Pláka 2008 are like night and day.
 

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The Jedi Will Rise Again
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There is a difference between being stict and being unfair.

If you asked me, Australian lifestyle and urban development would probably be the best alternative for me to live abroad had I to make a decision where to relocate. The northern hemisphere has become too problematic (and the cause of most of the world conflicts from the beginning of recorded history) if you also asked me. Aussie cities are amazing and unlike many of my compatriots I like order and organization.

However, I also like fair judgments and in this context, Athens has made a lot of steps towards the right direction. I agree that probably many more could have been done, but still, we've come a long way given the fact that this city has been the capital of a poor nation having to deal with a two world wars, a national defeat (1922), and a civil war which continued for another five years after the end of WWII.

The video presents an idealized image of Athens. It says nothing about the areas around the city that did not have electricity, water supply or paved roads at the time. It says nothing about problems such as dust ("ο κονιορτός" as they used to call it back then), the fact that ice and water was sold by the waterman or the iceman (ο νερουλάς και ο παγοπώλης), and if you asked me, I don't think that life was better in most of its aspects than it is today. It was much-much worse than Australia at that time for sure :D.

I doubt that many cities in Europe have seen this upgrade of their status from a small city of 300,000 in the early 1920's to a city of 1.1mn in 1950 and then to a regional metropolitan city of 4.5m in the beginning of the millennium, and under these adverse conditions and subject to this type of social pressures. We could have done better, true. What we have accomplished isn't insignificant though.

I am the first to recognize that LOTS of things need to be done and that our politicians are useless. On the other hand though, overbashing as well as its exact opposite, overpraising are not the best ways to constructively present a situation and help others to improve.
 

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That is the most depressing video I have seen in a long time. What a damn shame. I wonder are we capable of tearing down the horrible buildings we have now and replacing them with the originals? If it was so easy to do it to those gorgeous buildings it can't be that hard to do it today.

Anything being built in Athens proper should be required to follow a strict neoclassic design. I am tired of hearing this nonsense about having to move forward. Look at Dresden. The place was leveled during the war and yet they rebuilt the entire city as it once was, so I don't want anyone giving me any BS on how we can't replicate designs of the past.
 

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Thanks arxeos! This was also very enjoyable. It's early post-war, just a few years before the bouzoukization of Greek culture....
 

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That is the most depressing video I have seen in a long time. What a damn shame. I wonder are we capable of tearing down the horrible buildings we have now and replacing them with the originals? If it was so easy to do it to those gorgeous buildings it can't be that hard to do it today.

Anything being built in Athens proper should be required to follow a strict neoclassic design. I am tired of hearing this nonsense about having to move forward. Look at Dresden. The place was leveled during the war and yet they rebuilt the entire city as it once was, so I don't want anyone giving me any BS on how we can't replicate designs of the past.
I agree. Rules should be very strict in the centre - and more reasonable in the periphery. We should have skyscrapers in Marousi and buildings appropriate for each area in the centre - neoclassical in the historical centre, art-deco in Kolonaki and Kypseli etc etc...Instead now we have 5-storey builidings of whatever design they happen to build - as long as they don't exceed the geometrical limitations.
Have you seen that hotel in Navarhou Nikodemou? A totally insignificant office building has been transformed to a really beautiful neoclassical mansion. Some people call these interventions "a lie". Well, the ugly office building in the middle of a very old area is more of a lie if you ask me. It hides the real historical depth of the neighbourhood. Yes, a neoclassical building in Mesogeion avenue for instance would be a lie- because they never existed there.
 

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This was never meant to generate into an argument about which country is better or worse, artificial, natural or whatever.

It is clear that the real problem with some forummers is their inabiltiy to accept or even consider an opposing point of view. Some forummers unfortunately believe that all discent must be drowned out at all costs.......

However, some us who do uphold the values of the ancients, believe the Hellenic Agora ,must become more accepting of the alternate view point, whether it is negative, positive or indifferent .....

My comments on this forum have and will continue to challenge the status quo....if that in your mind makes me anti-greece, so be it. I know who I am and where I came from.......which is more that I can say for some Ellinares on this forum.

Finally,certain forummers need to leave the people and country of Australia out their venemous attacks against myself and others who present a alternative view.

Skyduster, you are welcome down under. I would be happy to give you a guided tour of the emerald harbour city of Sydney anyday.
 

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I agree. Rules should be very strict in the centre - and more reasonable in the periphery. We should have skyscrapers in Marousi and buildings appropriate for each area in the centre - neoclassical in the historical centre, art-deco in Kolonaki and Kypseli etc etc...Instead now we have 5-storey builidings of whatever design they happen to build - as long as they don't exceed the geometrical limitations.
Have you seen that hotel in Navarhou Nikodemou? A totally insignificant office building has been transformed to a really beautiful neoclassical mansion. Some people call these interventions "a lie". Well, the ugly office building in the middle of a very old area is more of a lie if you ask me. It hides the real historical depth of the neighbourhood. Yes, a neoclassical building in Mesogeion avenue for instance would be a lie- because they never existed there.
I am glad you agree with me. There are several on this board that agree with that "lie" comment, but it's absolutely not true. Athens had such a wonderful collection of neoclassic buildings, how is uprooting horrid box-like structures and replacing them with a building in the style that once was in place a lie? Should Dresden be replaced by contemporary buildings because the year is 2008?? Of course not. The builders understood the architecture that once was, and they are restoring it, often times from scratch. Why is this looked upon with such distaste in the building community in Athens? These attitudes need to change because they are benefiting no one.



Can you imagine Athens with a well-preserved city center (or one that has been rebuilt in the spirit of what was destroyed), a beautiful conglomerate of modern buildings and towers in the bustling business center of Marousi (like you mentioned) and a grand port and riviera that once was found at the coasts? Athens would not only be a top Euro destination, it would actually be better than many places that are regarded as such today. And no my friends, what I say is not a lie. All the things I mentioned were once there, but were lost. They can always be brought back to their past splendor. One positive thing is that it's never too late to change a city landscape. The thing is, do we have the political will to do it?
 

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I found the film footage interesting. I was surprised at the amount of housing that existed at the foot of Lykavettos even back then in the 1930s. Dionysiou Areopagitou Street in front of the Acropolis is still fairly bare and I love the neoclassical structure in front of the Stadium.

Overall the city still looks dense and there is an obvious lack of visible park space which still exists in Athens today. Despite the fact there were more neoclassical structures, the problem of density and lack of green space is still evident in the fill footage of 1930s Athens.
 

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I am afraid that these exchanges have become personal and to state the obvious -that cities from a vast country on the diametrically opposite side of the globe are better, compared with the overgrown capital of a tormented European country- reveals a streak of arrogance, as if the ones mentioning these cities also ...built them or have somehow contributed to the shaping of their superior urban aesthetics :lol:.

We already made our self-critique both in the Rome thread, as well as this one. However, (and this is a mistake that I may have made a couple of times in the past), bashing Athens all the time loses the essence of argumentation and reveals bias, bitterness and preoccupation. I am one of the few (along with others in this forum and outside) that has resisted the bad aesthetics, the lowrise "peasant" and "village" identity that a few outdated politicians, architects and city planners wanted to impose on Athens and thank God the Olympics came for the city to reclaim back some of its lost and well-deserved (at least from a historic standpoint) urban splendor.

To be honest with some of you, I believe that Athens needs a lot to be done and probably will never approach the perfectionist austerity of the Aussie cities. I like green cities with CBD skyscrapers and highways, order, infrastructure etc. However, I also like the place that I was born and I am willing to fight to improve it. Everybody is welcome to join this effort, be it mainland Greek, Cypriot or from the omogeneia.

What though seems awkward, not to say offensive, is to have people of Greek origin who were lucky to have been born in a foreign country, who have enjoyed the benefits of having been born in a prosperous country with a superior educational and welfare system because of this prosperity to come here and tell us how better their parents' foster country it is compared to ours. OK, we know that Australia is better in many aspects than Greece (not in ALL as there is also the personal element that cannot be recorded in ANY poll) and how good quality of life this country's cities offer compared to Greece's (and many of Europe's cities too). To come though and repeat the same things over and over again reveals personal bias besides the need to express mere constructive criticism and becomes offensive. Please consider this in your next posts.
 

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Irrelevant, but it just came out of the oven:

http://www.express.gr/news/ellada/34876oz_2008053134876.php3

Public works minister announces new motorway network
Source: Athens News Network 02/06/08-22:27

Environment, town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias announced on Monday the construction of a new network of motorways in the prefecture of Attica, having a total length of 55 kilometres and linking the Attica motorway with the coastal Posidonos motorway as well as, with a tunnel through Imittos, with the Mesogia region from Agia Marina to Rafina, including the airport. The project, budgeted at 1.2 billion and be carried out with the method of assignment, will have a very important characteristic: The complete (up to 90 percent) length from Katechaki motorway in the region of Vyronas down to Posidonos motorway, having a total length of 14.5 kilometres, will be underground. Souflias said that this option will increase the cost of the project considerably, but it will result in the slopes of Imittos in the direction of Vyronas, Ilioupoli, Argyroupoli and Elliniko remaining intact. The sections that will not be built underground will be at locations where overpasses will exist.
35 miles of new motorways with 9 miles in tunnels under mountains and irregular terrain. On top of what's been already built in this decade. Not bad for a city in shambles init?

At least the effort is there.
 

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gm2263 well done my friend,you said it all.:applause:

NOTICE:Next time another thread is ruined with similar trollish behavior the user will be issued an infraction and maybe i'll have a word with administrators who definitely don't approve of such behavior .

This gone far enough,don't you think?
 

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Son of Sparta: Well, Athens had 1 million people by 1940, it was no small city. But the density was appropriate for the size and style of buildings.

Don't get me wrong, I know there are many many interesting modern buildings that have been built in central Athens after the war. I wish they had been built like a couple of km further out to maintain the homogeneity of the centre, but as they are there, they should be preserved as they, too, are part of our architectural heritage. Many such buildings axist around Syntagma, for instance.

What could be transformed is other kinds of buildings with no architectural interest. There are thousands of them. Built with no architects involved, mere containers of functions. Most post-war buildings in Athinas street or Monastiraki square fall into that category. Imagine if every non-architecturally interesting building could be transformed into something more "real" for the character of the area. Of course the whole effort should be planned by architects, much like Hebrard did in Thessaloniki.

This should go hand-in hand with abolishment of height restrictions (and the introduction of stricter coverage restrictions) in the suburbs.
 
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