14 April, 2010

Development Planning Issues in Athens of Olympic Games 2004

Athens, via the undertaking of organization of Olympic Games 2004, places a line of objectives, most important from which is the economic growth and its upgrade as a "world" city. (research project)

Greek version

Department of Architecture
DPTH University
July 2008
Student: Xenofondas Dialeismas
Supervisor: Giorgos Patrikios, professor

Despite of all its difficulties, Athens has the possibility of becoming a second rung world city, undertaking a leading role in the Balkan area and the Eastern Mediterranean. Concerning the undertaking of the Games, a part of the society reacted, either due to ideological reasons, either believing that the final result will deteriorate the quality of life for Athens’ residents.

The spatial arrangement of the Olympic Venues, as announced in the File of Candidature (F.C) and as they were finally materialized, violates the principles of Athens’ Development Planning and for the legalization of this act, law 2730 was voted which, with the pretext of the proper integration of the venues in the existing urban planning, legalizes every measure and action taken in favor of the Games. The master plan, as announced in the F.C, proposes the creation of 2 main poles of athletic venues and the dissemination of the rest in various regions of Attica. In spite of that, due to many reasons, more than half of all sports were finally carried out somewhere else than originally planned. These changes were the result of bad planning. Seeking the criteria on which these arrangements were based, we see that facility and speed were the dominant ones. Interventions in the centre of the city that would help substantially in its reconstruction, were avoided and public, empty spaces were selected, easily exploitable (ex. Athens’ former airport). At the same time, the reformations, an essential tool for the concretization of the objectives placed, were limited in a number of squares and in other actions, such as the repair of buildings in carefully selected parts of the city.

Toward this reality, the Urban Environment Laboratory of the Department of Architects (N.T.U.A) made a study proposing a different arrangement based on completely different principles: reuse of the buildings, greater concern about the environment, decentralization of the venues and restriction of city spreading.

After that, two characteristic examples of Olympic venues are examined: The Olympic Village, which although belongs to the municipality of Aharnai, is substantially separated, due to the bad circulatory connections. At this moment, it is not at full function and has a major problem in doing so. For this venue, alternative solutions were also proposed most important of which, is the reuse of buildings in the centre of the city.

The Olympic venues in the "Goudi'" region, present a special interest, due to the project for the creation of a metropolitan park, pending since 1977. The Games constitute an opportunity for the materialization of the project while at the same time, permit the exploitation of the area for the Games. Finally, the parks’ project continues pending while the stadium that was manufactured was granted in a private company that exploits it organizing various spectacles.

The main conclusion of this research is that the strategic planning of the Games has failed in all of the objectives placed. This happened because on one hand these objectives constituted an oratory and functioned only as propaganda and on the other hand because the spatial arrangements could not fulfill them. In the organization of the Games, a sense of exceptionally important was dominant. The Games were the great “national objective”, in favor of which we all had to agree and to accept everything, without objections. Paradoxical is the fact that for the organizers and a big part of the Greek society, the Olympic Fights are considered successful after a transactional logic, just because they took place.

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