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“Re-think Athens” Project Launched

The exclusion of cars from a redesigned Panepistimiou Street, the extension of the tram line to Patisia, the refurbishment of Omonia square and the upgrading of the Neoclassical Trilogy of Athens (Academy of Athens, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and National Library of Greece) are just some of the key points of a new urban development project for central Athens presented in late March.

During an event held at the Onassis Cultural Center in Athens, the Onassis Foundation launched a European architectural competition for the project, called “Rethink Athens.”

The project is a multifaceted intervention centered on Panepistimiou Street, extending from Amalias Avenue to Patission Street and ending at a “brand new” Omonia Square.

Its main objective is to stop the increased downgrading and to revive the center of Athens with multiple functions related to trade, services, housing, entertainment and culture while simultaneously encouraging several activities.

The Onassis Foundation will fund the European architectural competition for the “Re-think Athens” project and the required studies in total. European Union funds will cover the development of the project.

According to reports, the total construction will cost some 200 million euros and last some two years, setting 2015 as an achievable goal.

For years Athens has struggled with a mass “invasion” of illegal immigrants, an increase in crime, prostitution and drug trafficking. In addition, frequent strikes, demonstrations and street riots have repeatedly caused a continuous drop in the Greek capital’s appeal to foreign visitors.

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