Treading carefully on urban revamps

A city cannot go and change all of its zoning rules and layout on the whim of some private entrepreneur, especially when that person has not shelled out the money for the project himself.

The planned pedestrianization of Panepistimiou Street in central Athens, a key artery that links the capital’s two main squares, Syntagma and Omonia, is a massive undertaking that will bring about significant changes in and around the center.

But before any part of it goes ahead, we need to see serious studies and, more importantly, a serious discussion about what it will mean for the city in terms of its impact. It is inconceivable that politicians, the government and others are becoming embroiled in this issue for no reason but to earn publicity points for supporting the project.

Historical cities like Athens are not redesigned just because someone wants it that way for his or her own reasons.

Such decisions are major and have a huge impact, and as such should be taken cautiously and wisely.