Letter to the Editor

Greek architect Manolis Anastassakis is right to think that Europeans’ renewed interest in tall buildings is due to the fact that ecologically they free up or conserve urban space (June 21, «Architect mulls skyscrapers for Athens»). He fails to notice that European cities already have civic, demographic, social, national, provincial and municipal infrastuctures that would support, and even enhance, the building of 200-meter towers that resemble olive tree leaves.   Athens and Greece in general lack, or fail to implement, regulations that make sure the most rudimentary urban infrastructures are properly maintained and improved upon, to enhance the well-being of the population.  The bad distribution of electricity; lack of control over the gross waste of municipal waters; haphazard urban zoning, which allows building contractors to erect monstrosities; a garbage disposal «system» that is an ecological nightmare; a criminal lack of traffic signs, road upkeep, and strict enforcement of traffic laws; the indiscriminate sale of monster, pollution-spewing 4x4s; the total lack of regulations, with teeth in them, to prevent our nature-loving fellow citizens from laying waste the most beautiful countrysides on the mainland and on our islands; the ruthless destruction of our rivers, forests, flora and fauna. All this, just to be masters of a villa built on a hilltop, just like the Acropolis, with a view. None of this can be rectified without a fair, efficient, strictly imposed tax infrastructure that compels all citizens to pay their fair share for the decent maintenance of the areas they live in. It is a common expense that is desperately needed in Greece. Imagine Mr Anastassakis building the 200-meter structures in Athens, in the current wild-west, stake-claiming, essentially unregulated, building chaos. One shudders to think of all those civil engineers and building contractors wanting to go one better than Mr Anastassakis’s olive tree leaf structures, and erecting 300-meter-tall monstrosities in the shape of karyatids and Doric and Ionic columns. Only a strong foundation of national, civic, municipal, and ecological laws can give us the courage and daring to erect skyscrapers that are set amid an urban landscape finally free of the blight and sight of underdevelopment, insularity and small-mindedness. MERLIE PAPADOPOULLOS, Ano Voula.

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