Attica basin

Saving open spaces at all costs, the refurbishment of rundown inner urban areas in Athens and Piraeus to encourage the return of residents, completing large parks and linking up the Olympic Games venues are among the steps proposed in the strategy plan, which divides the Attica basin into five large areas for which it recommends separate action. 1. For downtown Athens (with a population of 1 million, according to the 2001 census, estimated to drop to 836,000-855,000 by 2015), the study proposes holding on to inhabitants by improving the residential environment; completing the archaeological site unification project, highlighting and sprucing up major squares and upgrading public and green areas. «For years the City of Athens has been losing its population, which is moving outside the city. The only way to entice them back to Athens is to improve the built up environment,» explained Gerardi. 2. For Piraeus and surrounding municipalities (569,000 residents in 2001, estimated to fall to 520,000-535,000 by 2015), the plan proposes major steps, such as refurbishing the fertilizer factory area in Drapetsona and Keratsini by creating a business park, upgrading dilapidated residential areas in Piraeus and unifying Piraeus’s archaeological sites. It also proposes that the islands of Hydra, Spetses and Poros, as well as Troizinia and Methana be administered by the Argolida Prefecture, and Kythera and Antikythera by Laconia Prefecture. 3. For southern Athens (598,000 inhabitants in 2001, expected to rise to 665,000-690,000 by 2015), the plan stresses the importance of creating the metropolitan park at Hellenikon, the refurbishment of Faliron Bay, the extension of the Hymettus ring road to the southeast and upgrading recreational tourism services. «The Kallithea, Nea Smyrni, Faliron area has lost its old suburban character and is like a seaward extension of Athens. The coast retains its tourist character, while developing into a new business center,» said Gerardi. 4. For the northern Attica basin (590,00 inhabitants in 2001, expected to increase to 742,000-768,000 by 2015), the plan recommends organizing the Maroussi metropolitan park and developing Tourkovouni and Syngrou park., 5. For western Athens (584,000 inhabitants in 2001, estimated to rise to 600,000 by 2015), the plan advises health and education facilities, and improving public transportation that links the area with central Athens and Piraeus.