Development and conflicts in a historic neighborhood of Athens
Akadimia Platonos is located at the west of the Municipality of Athens and is an area of both residence and industrial/craft uses. At the same time, the park of Akadimia Platonos constitutes an archaeological site where ancient philosopher Platon established the Akademia in 387 BC. Nowadays, Akadimia Platonos is considered a degraded neighborhood, where lower classes reside along with a large number of migrant population, while the park constitutes a vital public green space, hosting recently developed collective solidarity activities and uses. Since 2008 when the “Artume” company bought a former industrial building a short distance from the park, several building restrictions were institutionally amended in order to facilitate the company’s plans for the construction of a 55.000 s.m. Mall, named “Academy Gardens”: Industrial heritage buildings were demolished, land uses changed, the allowable heights were modified, and more recently the final permission for the construction of the Mall was given. The “developers” state that the project will contribute to the upgrading of the archaeological site, while thousands of new jobs will be created. According to local initiatives and City Councils of neighboring areas, the Mall will exploit the connection (through pedestrian streets) of the current park with its “gardens” and it will affect the local economy as it is estimated that more than 6000 jobs will be lost. During the fieldtrip a relevant discussion will take place with the initiatives that have already reacted to the promoted plans and a broader debate will be encouraged regarding the issues of development, crisis, solidarity and public spaces.