FT5: Port of Piraeus and Drapetsona

Chinese investments, Infrastructural concerns and historical refugees' settlements

The Port of Piraeus, is the largest passenger port in Europe, an important cruise port connecting Athens with the Aegean islands and the fastest growing commercial port in Europe. The presence of the Chinese giant COSCO in the container-port since 2009, the incorporation of Piraeus in the Chinese government’s ambitious project “Marine Silk Road” and recently the concession of the entire port and its management to COSCO, have further enhanced its global character. But Piraeus has also been historically an urban port, located in the heart of the city and connected with it with multiple and complex social and economic relations. The privatization of the port therefore poses new challenges regarding not only the dispossession of important public infrastructure or the new status of working rights and conditions, but also the future relation of the port and the city. At the same time, the neighboring urban areas, are undergoing multiple socio-spatial transformations till recently. The area of Drapetsona, is a characteristic relevant example as both a place of refugees' settlement since the 1920s and an industrial area with an emblematic old fertilizer factory. In the field trip we will visit the site of the port and the surrounding neighborhood of Drapetsona and we will discuss the implications of the privatization process and the possible alternative scenarios.