The Void of Urban Experimentation in Athens, Greece

I have been recently invited by the Greek Newspaper Kathimerini to provide an opinion piece about the controversy surrounding the extensive pedestrianisation 'experiment' in Athens, Greece, known as the "Megalos Peripatos" (Great Walk).
 
In my argument, I contend that if such a pedestrianisation plan is:
 
1️⃣ implemented merely as a 'traffic' or 'design' experiment,
2️⃣ conducted with a paternalistic, top-down approach incorporating pseudo-participatory processes,
3️⃣ not integrated into a broader strategy aimed at reducing car usage and enhancing both the urban environment and accessibility to degraded urban areas.
4️⃣ promoted solely as a technical project to enhance the 'image' of central Athens to the world, neglecting the social, economic, and environmental conditions of the city in the post-crisis era,
5️⃣ planned outside institutionalised processes, or in an ad-hoc manner, where powerful private and public entities and individuals play a crucial role.
 
Then, it may not only fail to contribute to a more livable city, but could also potentially work against it, delaying interventions that would genuinely improve the quality of life for its residents.
 
And I am afraid this is the case with the 'Megalos Peripatos' experiment.

Available here in Greek.

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