An experiment that is planned along the lines of the archetypal mall

We did it! The final decision to turn Athinas Street into a pedestrian zone pleased fans of the capital. This completes the retrieval of the city center, which started in the 1970s (with the first pedestrian zones). After many skirmishes and much pettiness, endless red tape and political backtracking, the final blow against regression has been struck. What is there not to be happy about? The dream of a new generation of visionaries who look boldly to the future is fulfilled. The project of taming the commercial center may have stalled; Psyrri is a mess, Omonia is neglected, and the entire city center is jolted from sleep by nightmares of uprisings, but Athinas is going to be a pedestrian zone. Wow! But, hey, let’s not stop there. Let’s move ahead. The future is ours. As Athinas complements Ermou, offering everything from wedding items to entertainment, let’s help it along, learning from the archetypal mall. Yes, let the street be turned into sterile arcades with transparent air-conditioned roofs, and filled with elegant shops, guarded day and night, and endless happenings held there for the entertainment of the crowds. What about mock sit-ins by concerned anti-consumers, political events with deputies denying statements on TV, confessions of scandals and people humiliating themselves on reality shows. The perfect arena. That’ll get them off their sofas and out into the social scene. Let’s subsidize them, to sit around in cafes, with giant screens showing what’s happening from end to end in the arcade, with everyone having a great time. Isn’t that what we want? City-TV? Isn’t that the perfect opiate? Dimitris Philippidis is an architect.

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