Flagship Projects and Socio-Spatial Inequalities. The Case of the Post Refugee Urban Neighbourhood in Kallithea, Attica, Greece
Keywords:flagship projects, socio-spatial inequality, Athenian Riviera, refugee areas
The issue of flagship projects is becoming more and more timely in the contemporary globalized urban context. The overall transformation of a former decayed urban enclave through a well targeted large-scale intervention is found in many cities around the world. Following the narrative of Bilbao, which is considered to be a success story, many cities attempted to imitate the “Bilbao effect”. Taking into account the international experience on the field, this paper tries to analyze a Greek example, delving into the specificities of time and space. The selected case study could be considered as one of the first flagship or prestige projects in Greece and is strongly associated with the concept of “Athenian Riviera”, a metropolitan coastal zone that is currently under urban regeneration. This prestige project is located inside a former refugee enclave that has until today a significant number of old refugee housing complexes, constructed around 1930. The stark contradiction between the iconic building and the derelict neighboring refugee apartments reflects clearly the impact of site-specific urban interventions; they widen the gab between upgraded and degenerated enclaves inside the city. The presence of vulnerable households in the area raises concerns on future gentrification procedures. Field work combined with literature review is being made so as to adumbrate the crucial issues in the area of study. Photographic documentation and cartographic depiction are used as tools so as to illustrate the physiognomy of the area. The ultimate purpose of the paper is to address the issue of socio-spatial inequalities in the era of globalization, where the implementation of place branding strategies puts aside certain social factors, leading to spatial segregation between degraded and upgraded areas.
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