NEWS

Urban planning

Urban legislation is flagrantly violated in Greece, not only by private individuals in cahoots with civil service employees but also by political leaders themselves. Vassilis Dorovinis, vice president of the Greek Society for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage, quotes the master plan of Athens as a characteristic example of how the state has breached the laws it has introduced. Introduced as law N. 1515/1985, it regulates operations in the Attica basin and in unbuilt areas and has provisions for the creation of more green areas. «The Organization of Athens was founded for the very purpose of applying the law, and the organization is often sidestepped,» said Dorovinis, who is also a lawyer, political scientist and specialist in urban-planning and environmental issues. In the last 20 years since its foundation, the master plan has been violated with various projects and other regulations. A typical example is the Hymettus ring road, which should have been built underground and made to run along the boundaries of the municipalities rather than through them. The Goulandris Museum in the Rizari wood is another example. In this case, only a few months after the decision of the State Council (604/2002), in March 2002, which stipulated, in accordance with the Athens Master Plan, that the wood had to remain a green area, the former Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, passed a new law, 3057 (Article 80), in October reversing the decision of the State Council. Flagrant violation by citizens and the state alike have produced the illegal structures we see everywhere today. It has been estimated that out of a million of these, most have been legalized, and continue to be legalized, in waves, with special measures usually implemented in the runup to elections.