Aristeidis Romanos

Architect and town planner Aristeidis Romanos, who has had long experience in key positions (including director of the Unification of Archaeological Sites and advisor to the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee), notes that a fragmented approach to the various sites is not an exclusively Greek phenomenon. «The problems of metropolitan centers are so complex that it is difficult to draw them all into single plan. We often see smaller special plans, and that happens in cities we admire, such as Barcelona,» he said. Romanos also pointed out that town planners in Greece tend to be wary of locations that are assigned without any framework, that is to say without those specifications that guarantee the viability of the plan. He favors scattering various uses throughout the urban fabric of Athens, but only on certain conditions. «We must be careful not to get drawn into exaggeration. I mean that it is good to ensure a critical mass of cultural uses in an Olympic venue, rather than have a theater here and an exhibition space somewhere else. It is only with complementary uses that this infrastructure will prove economically viable,» said Romanos. As for international experience, what we are seeing now in Athens we saw first in London or Paris and other large cities, with one difference: «The center has remained the centripetal force, pulling in the crowds. Developments in the suburbs or in rundown areas have always been of a supplementary nature.»