A plan filed away for 17 years

In the early 1990s, architect Betty Vakalopoulou and her associates drafted a plan for Kypseli, particularly for areas such as Fokionos Negri, Aghia Zoni, Kanari and Aghiou Georgiou Squares and around Polygono. Their design, one of six commissioned by the then mayor Antonis Tritsis, was completed during the mayorship of Leonidas Kouris and rapidly forgotten. Yet it is still valid, as are the problems it was designed to deal with: lack of green spaces, sporting and cultural venues, parking facilities, dense construction and abandoned homes, local transport, cleanliness, and the coexistence of different social groups. Among other things, the plan proposed a pilot program to unify open spaces around apartment buildings to be managed by the buildings’ inhabitants. It also provided for vocational training in building techniques for immigrants, so they would be equipped to work on restoring old homes; that way the area would be able to make use of its human resources and conserve its historic buildings. The plan also emphasizes the need to keep middle- and lower-income groups in Kypseli, but to improve their living conditions. For example, to bring them up from the basement flats into the older homes they themselves would restore. There is also provision for local transport and more green spaces, both in Fokionos Negri and Alepotrypa.