Putting a stop to uncontrolled residential development and cracking down on illegal building are the top priorities for eastern Attica. In particular, there is an urgent need to maintain and if possible expand agricultural land in the Mesogeia area. Development in the Lavreotiki peninsula is less frenetic and an infrastructure boost is expected to help put development in Lavrion on the right course. The area of southeastern Attica covers the southern part of the prefecture and divides it into two parts: Mesogeia (Gerakas, Anthousa, Glyka Nera, Pallini, Pikermi, Rafina, Artemis, Spata, Paeania, Koropi and Markopoulo), and Lavreotiki (Kalyvia, Keratea, Saronida, Palaia Fokaia, Anavyssos, Lavrion, Aghios Constantinos and Kouvara). The area had 190,850 inhabitants in 2001, showing a fairly strong rise from 1991 (129,500). As the researchers note, eastern Attica plays a significant part in the economy and ecological balance of Attica. The population is growing rapidly and business is expanding, especially in municipalities in Mesogeia. Recent years have seen a buildup of shopping centers, wholesale outlets, private schools and businesses in Pallini, Gerakas and Glyka Nera, a trend which will intensify. «There is an urgent need to put a stop to building, both of holiday homes and primary domiciles, and for controls on illegal buildings,» said Gerardi. «We have to keep to the limits of areas that have been planned. Construction should, if possible, be done in new, organized ways. And special emphasis should go to the Hippodrome area so that it becomes a space for greenery and recreation.» The decline of the Lavreotiki peninsula caused when Lavrion lost its industrial character has slowed in recent years. «The city is starting to become a transportation, recreation and culture center. The extension of Attiki Odos and the suburban railway to Lavrion will boost the role of the area,» explained Gerardi. Among the infrastructure that could improve southeastern Attica, the plan refers to business parks in Spata and Pallini (rather than chaotic rows of businesses along Attiki Odos), a new internal road from Vari to Anavyssos to decongest the coastal road, and public transportation by sea from Zea to Lavrion with stops in between.