The blooming heart of Nea Philadelphia

A beautiful city with elegant low-rise buildings with the tiled roofs of early 20th century refugee houses has been flourishing in Nea Philadelphia over the past few years. It is the product of a daring idea: The area, once settled by refugees and later damaged in the 1999 earthquake, was listed as a traditional settlement, to which certain architectural regulations would apply. Such strict rules are rare in Attica and initially met with strenuous opposition from local residents, who foresaw that they might come up against obstacles in capitalizing on their property. Now, however, five years after that presidential decree was issued, the reservations and complaints have disappeared. The land plots are hugely popular – not with contractors but with families and friends who have chosen to share a small building with two or three apartments. Nea Philadelphia is showing local authorities and the state how to preserve the historic continuity of cities – through small residential clusters, not just through individual listed buildings which are surrounded by high-rise apartment blocks.

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