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Field Trips

Dourgouti: a refugees’ neighbourhood

 

Dourgouti is an Athenian neighbourhood with an intense migratory history that even today continues to accept new waves of migrants and refugees. The first residents were Armenian refugees and then Greeks from various regions of Asia Minor in the 1920s. The apartment buildings that were built by the state for those who could not afford to be housed by their own means, nowadays accommodate new-immigrants and also descendants (children or grandchildren) of older residents of the neighbourhood who continue the history of Dourgouti.

 

Friday, August 30 / 09:00 / Neos Kosmos station, Metro line 2 (red line), exit: Pissa Street / Participants: 25 max

Friday, August 30 / 11:00 / Neos Kosmos station, Metro line 2 (red line), exit: Pissa Street / Participants: 25 max

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Restoration and Reuse of the Refugee complex of Alexandras Av.

 

After the Asia Minor Catastrophe in 1922, the influx of 1,200,000 refugees arriving at the port of Piraeus generated the pressing need for the creation of refugee settlements. The initial installations were self-made, low-quality, improvised structures. The first organized rehabilitation efforts started a few years later. The complex of Alexandras Avenue is one of these structures. The 8 blocks of flats were built in two phases between 1933 and 1936. They consist of 228 apartments, 177 of which now belong to the Region of Attica. In 2019, the restoration of the complex’s facades and the repair of the apartments in the ownership of the Attica Region begins. The aim is to utilize the apartments which are currently empty and abandoned for accommodating social housing structures and for hosting the attendants of the patients treated in the adjacent Agios Savvas hospital. A small number of the apartments is also intended to be converted into a museum dedicated to the Asia Minor memory.

 

Friday, August 30 / 09:00 / Ambelokipi station, Metro line 3 (blue line), exit: Alexandras Ave / Panormou Str / Participants: 25 max

Friday, August 30 / 11:00 / Ambelokipi station, Metro line 3 (blue line), exit: Alexandras Ave / Panormou Str / Participants: 25 max

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Exarcheia and Patission Street: Squats in the center of Athens, past and present

 

Exarcheia is a central Athenian neighbourhood known for its particular character as an anti-authoritarian “island” inside a capitalistic metropolis. Its history is full of important political and cultural incidents that marked the life of Athens and the whole country’s. Its vicinity with three of the most political active universities is indicative and linked to its vibrant imaginary. In this so-called “anarchist neighbourhood”, the phenomenon of political squats could not be overlooked as well as the squatting of space inside the universities close by, which are/were all managed by anarchists and anti-authoritarians. The northern border of the area is marked by Patission Street. This street is a high political place where a lot of battleships, demonstrations and hit and run actions took place over the last 50 years. During 2013, there was an eviction wave in Greece that attacked also 4 political places in this area. However, new squats are arising that support the current needs of the city like the City Plaza initiative which hosts migrant families. Also, inside Exarcheia, other political initiatives and squats can still be found while even the main square constitutes a political place that resists against the creation of a metro station on the exact spot. This field-trip aims at observing the antiauthoritarian and squatting movement’s footprint in the center of Athens through the area of Exarcheia and the Patission Street.

 

Friday, August 30 / 09:00 / Panepistimio Station, Metro Line 2 (red line), exit: Korai Str / Participants: 25 max

Friday, August 30 / 11:00 / Panepistimio Station, Metro Line 2 (red line), exit: Korai Str / Participants: 25 max

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“Invisible Tours

 

The field trip will be organized by the Greek street paper “Shedia”. “Invisible Tours” is a social project based in the capital of Greece, Athens, in which homeless people become tour guides in a very different kind of a city walk. The tour introduces visitors to many important social and solidarity institutions of the Greek capital (soup kitchens, day centers, drug rehabilitation centers, homeless shelters etc.).The guides provide information on the types of services offered by each institution as well as how they themselves have experienced or are still experiencing homelessness. And this is the most important element of “Invisible Tours”: the personal narrative; in other words, communicating one’s personal experience from life on the streets.

 

* All of the tour guides are “Shedia” street paper vendors. The cost for each participant in this fieldtrip is 8 euros and has to be paid directly to the tour guides of “Shedia”. For more information: http://www.shedia.gr/

 

 

Friday, August 30 / 9:00 / Omonia Station, Metro Line 1 or 2 (green line or red line respectively), exit: Stadiou Street (metro sign on the square) / Participants: 30 max

Friday, August 30 / 11:00 / Omonia Station, Metro Line 1 or 2 (green line or red line respectively), exit: Stadiou Street (metro sign on the square) / Participants: 30 max

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St. Polycarpou Street: A journey into the urban vacuum.

 

It is a small and insignificant road just next to the oldest road in Europe. It is an almost invisible urban island that connects the city center with the poor western districts. It is the point where the refugees of the 1920s meet with the economic migrants of the 1990s and refugees and migrants from 2010 onwards. It is a hybrid space where the ruins of old factories and craft workshops and the bazaars of used objects and bodies are emerging.

 

Friday, August 30 / 09:00 / Eleonas station, Metro Line 3 (blue line), exit: Iera Odos street / Participants: 25 max

Friday, August 30 / 11:00 / Eleonas station, Metro Line 3 (blue line), exit: Iera Odos street / Participants: 25 max

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Kato Patisia: socio-ethnic dynamics in an inner-city neighbourhood of Athens

 

Kato Patisia is a densely-populated neighbourhood, located in the inner city of Athens and consisting, almost exclusively, of apartment buildings. Since the 1990s, in Kato Patisia, as in other central neighbourhoods of Athens, changes in the socio-ethnic structure of the area have taken place and this dynamic has an impact on neighbourhood’s public life as it appears in everyday experience. The field trip discusses the mechanisms which lie behind the socio-ethnic change within the neighbourhood and its impact both on area’s public life from a first-person view as well as its position in the field of socio-spatial differentiation of Athens.

 

Friday, August 30 / 09:00 / Agios Nikolaos station, Metro Line 1 (green line), exit: Agios Nikolaos (direction: Axarnon) / Participants: 25 max

Friday, August 30 / 11:00 / Agios Nikolaos station, Metro Line 1 (green line), exit: Agios Nikolaos (direction: Axarnon) / Participants: 25 max

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Urban transformation in Athens: The role of the State and of private landownership in (re-)shaping the city centre.

 

Athens’ “historical” city centre was hard-hit by the economic crisis but has recently seen a surge in economic activity, mainly linked to tourism. However, the shift towards the leisure economy is not a new phenomenon in this part of town. The way it has happened here, is a typical example of the way that the Greek State utilises infrastructure and public space interventions to spur consumption-based economic activities. This field trip will take us through city-centre areas in transition, where dynamic up-and coming tourism uses mix with long-established retail and bric-a-brac shops, offices and residences. We will explore how cultural capital is valorised, monetised and distributed to landed and other interests, in a process underpinned by consistent public investment in infrastructure and public space improvements. We will also look at what the effects on local residents have been, especially in terms of housing costs and quality of life.

 

Friday, August 30 / 09:00 / Kapnikarea church (Ermou Str.), near Syntagma station, Metro line 2 or 3 (redline or blue line respectively) / Participants: 25 max

Friday, August 30 / 11:00 / Kapnikarea church (Ermou Str.), near Syntagma station, Metro line 2 or 3 (red line or blue line respectively) / Participants: 25 max

Koukaki – Acropolis: Trends of touristification in a central neighborhood of Athens

 

The area of Koukaki-Acropolis is located in the very center of Athens. Koukaki is a residential neighborhood, while Acropolis constitutes a touristic pole that attracts thousands of visitors every day. During the period 2014-2015, Koukaki emerged as the 5th most popular Airbnb destination worldwide, with visitors rising by 800%. Today, the impact of Airbnb has become apparent in multiple ways: rent prices have risen, a significant part of dwellings has been withdrawn from the long-term tenancy, and local residents have difficulties in finding a house for long-term renting. During the fieldtrip, a broader discussion will take place, regarding the impact of short-term rentals and the trends of touristification in Athens.

 

Friday, August 30 / 09:00 / Acropoli station, Metro line 2 (red line), exit: Makrigianni Str. / Athanasiou Diakou Str.

Friday, August 30 / 11:00 / Acropoli station, Metro line 2 (red line), exit: Makrigianni Str. / Athanasiou Diakou Str.

Urban accommodation for asylum seekers, refugees and migrants

 

It is estimated that there are 80,000 refugees and asylum seekers who currently reside in Greece, most having arrived after 2015. Asylum seekers are eligible for EU funded accommodation, in camps, hotels, or rented apartments in the ESTIA programme. Nonetheless, the demand for accommodation is much greater than the capacity of official accommodation structures. In addition, there is no official accommodation provision for recognized refugees, and people who receive negative asylum decisions. This leads to the creation of informal living situations, in squats and overcrowded apartments.

 

This walk aims to spatialize the lack of adequate accommodation, while giving us the chance to discuss ongoing changes in the housing market, current policy and available options in detail.

 

We will start the walk from Victoria Square, a reference point for people arriving in Athens in 2015, when the square was transformed into a makeshift camp. From there we will walk around Agios Panteleimonas, and south on Acharnon Street, passing by City Plaza, a self-organized squatted hotel, and a squatted school. Continuing towards Omonoia Square, we will walk by a hotel used as short-term accommodation. We will continue towards Gerani, a neighborhood with established Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities, and a point of call for newcomers in the city. Due to its central location, there has been a rise in interest by local and foreign property investors, while we can observe a considerable rise of short-term let properties.

 

Friday, August 30 / 09:00 / Victoria Station, Metro Line 1 (green line), exit: direction Piraeus (on the Square) / Participants: 25 max

Friday, August 30 / 11:00 / Victoria Station, Metro Line 1 (green line), exit: direction Piraeus (on the Square) / Participants: 25 max