Urban Acupuncture as a Method of Open Space Regeneration in Greek Ex-Refugee Areas. The Case of Nikea, Piraeus
Keywords:sustainability, urban acupuncture, urban planning, Greece, ex-refugee urban areas
The paper explores the potential of implementing the principles of urban acupuncture in a selected Greek case study, taking into account international experience in the field. The research includes literature review and field work. The area of study is Nikea, an ex-refugee urban area in the Attica metropolitan region. It was founded during the 1930s to host refugees from Asia Minor. The initial Hippodamian grid offers beneficial intermediate communal spaces inside each city block and there are also larger green spaces in proximity. However, the area suffers from urban blight owed largely to the poor quality of preservation of the old refugee housing estates. A mixture of factors contributes to the complex contemporary situation characterized by opportunities and challenges. On the one hand, there is great potential for regenerating the existing intermediate communal spaces and on the other decaying refugee houses and vulnerable households intricate the already convoluted situation. The paper provides cartographic depiction and categorization of the existing open spaces highlighting also contemporary socio-spatial challenges and market driven limitations. The research describes the obstacles that hinder the activation of “urban sensitive points” in terms of urban acupuncture, also advocating for possible solutions. The paper opens dialogue on the Greek case study in terms of urban acupuncture with the view to suggest strategies to foster socio-spatial cohesion in degraded ex -refugee urban areas. This is a pilot case study with further application in other post-refugee urban areas in Greece that share common socio-spatial attributes. Thus, the topic of the paper may have a greater impact within the Greek urban context.
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