NEWS

Eastern, western fringes become real players

What Athenians saw happening in the 1980s to the capital’s city center is now becoming more widespread. Can the geographical map of consumerism really be limited to the old axis of north-south (Kifissias and Syngrou avenues / Vouliagmenis and Poseidonos avenues)? No. Nowadays, the map has to include the rapidly developing eastern and western fringes of the city. The inclusion of the western suburbs into the social and financial activities of the capital were much delayed, occurring just 10 or 15 years ago. The unusual exclusion of the west was succeeded by an explosive diffusion of consumerism and the urban lifestyle, most markedly seen at Bournazi Square in Peristeri, which has evolved into an Athenian hybrid including elements of Las Vegas, California and eastern Europe. It is not surprising that Village Entertainment selected Aghios Ioannis Rendi as the ideal location to establish its first big entertainment complex. Western Athens offers potential investors an irresistible advantage over other areas: It still has large expanses of unconstructed land and the handicap it used to suffer because of its inaccessibility has been reversed with the construction of the Attiki Odos highway. Likewise, eastern Athens is the next best thing for land developers and Ikea is just the opening salvo. The rapid urbanization of the Mesogeia plain, in combination with the operation of the suburban railway (which runs from Syntagma to Paeania in 30 minutes), herald prospects for development in the area in the very near future.