A Short River Story from Athens, Greece

The following post comes courtesy of Global Site Plans' The Grid. CNU and Global Site Plans recently teamed up to syndicate Grid content, as its contingent of writers presents a view on the opportunities and issues of urbanization all across the world. CNU will carry select posts from the Grid direct on the CNU Salons.


 Kifisos is a principal watercourse of the Attica basin which springs from mountains of Parnitha and Penteli, run through downtown Athens and eventually discharges into Saronikos Bay. Just before emptying into the sea, for a stretch of 20klm, river Kifisos has been regrettably covered by transportation infrastructureas means to avoid expensive expropriations. At its northern uncovered part, Kifisos has been turned into a rubbish dump and toxic area due to manufactories and encroachments of the river banks. Despite the establishment of a special regime of protection for a buffer zone of 50m. along the river banks, the conditions haven’t improved yet, while the current economic crisis further diminishes any positive prospects for the future of Kifisos.

However, an alternative plan, that was designed and developed on a voluntary basis, by a team of urbanists and architects led by professor V.Zotos, proposes the complete regeneration of the uncovered urbanized part of the river.

Athens, Greece River

The suggestion involves the transformation of Kifiso’s linear urban void into a continuous linear green park that will work both as an air-conditioning corridor for the adjacent areas and as an inducement to Athenians for a quick escape while providing the opportunity for tourists to enjoy the Athenian landscape.

Athens, Greece River

More specifically, activity areas, river bank improvements, additional green areas, photovoltaics and a sophisticated water management system for irrigation purposes, that would also work against flooding problems, have been proposed on a local level. At the same time, a long-term dream of the team is to completely eliminate the highways from the south part of the river and give the city back its river.

Athens, Greece River

In which ways does your city’s river offer opportunities for relaxation, recreation and sustainable development?

To read the original post, written by Alkisti Eleni Victoratou, visit Global Site Plans.


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