A boulevard? Yes, but after a study
If I had to choose, I would say yes to the pedestrianization of Athinas. The divider of the historic triangle, Athinas leads from the busy hub of Omonia to the symbol of the capital, the Acropolis. What could be better for the center than for its backbone to become an elongated square, a boulevard of social life and communication, with other important squares and public areas incorporated along its length and at each end? What will happen to the cars? The same as everywhere. International expertise has revitalized the center of many major metropolises, attracting residents, shoppers, tourists and beauty to the heart of the city. And the city center of Athens already has some basic infrastructure such as public transport. When I first heard the mayor’s proposal I was skeptical, given the nature of the shops, delivery problems and above all the need for a complete town-planning and traffic study. I stress that now, as have other experts. I hope we are heeded. In order to revive the city center, problems must be tackled systematically and there must be an overall plan for the area. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly from the outset, for present-day society and for future generations. Let’s not leave everything to private enterprise. Athanasios Aravantinos is an architect, town planner and professor emeritus of the National Technical University of Athens.