Nowadays, Municipality of Athens is in process of an extensive 25-years plan implementation for the remodeling and the renovation of the city center and its surroundings, so as to improve everyday life for the residents and visitors of these areas, promoting social cohesion and financial development.
Dourgouti neighbourhood is an area, inside Athens’ urban core, with a big range of open public spaces and many abandoned buildings. At the same time, in Athens’ city center there is a limited number of houses and a lack of big urban squares.
The settlement of Dourgouti was one of the first refugee settlements in Athens, with many historical events. In 1944, one of the largest blockings of the Nazi Germans in Athens was organized there, with hundreds arrested and executed. Today, many immigrants, and poor people live there in inferior conditions, while there are very few elderly apartment owners left as their descendants moved to other areas. Most of the buildings are left vacant and neglected. This feeling of abandonment creates a feeling of danger, pushing people away, and making the area even more empty and isolated.
However, the neighborhood is historic, walkable, and centrally located. In Dourgouti development is needed, but not by changing its multicultural character. Local people should not drive out, but instead, people from the surroundings should come in. Hence, the question is how we can regenerate an area avoiding gentrification.
My thesis aims to propose development and urban renewal strategies, targeting this minority neighborhood, for improvements by preserving the existing community. Dourgouti Revitalization is a resident-centered redevelopment study, that takes into consideration the people, history, and geography of a neighborhood — will attract entrepreneurs and developers that serve and retain the existing community, drawing in further businesses and people. This project is a visual alternative and proposed option in an historical Athenian neighbourhood’s future development in a direction that benefits local residents and visitors alike, providing an attractive, alive and pedestrian-friendly environment and promoting social and economic sustainability.