The Ellinikon development project in Athens is set to be Europe’s largest urban regeneration project. Located on the grounds of the former Greek airport, the Ellinikon is a year-round waterfront lifestyle destination that’s built on the principles of a 15-minute city. It will boost Greece’s GDP by an estimated 2.4% until the project’s final completion date; phase one is due to be completed by 2026. To top that off, the Ellinikon will increase open air space for Athenian residents by 44%. Its scale is certainly something to be marvelled at, yet it’s the vision of creating an integrated and sustainable living model which lies at the core of the project that’s going to redefine what Athenian climate-positive public space will look like.
Years in the making, and boasting a large list of world-renowned architects and urban planners, the Ellinikon will consist of:
- 6,200 acres of urban living space
- 600 acres of green open space
- 1 km of beachfront
- 50 km of cycling lanes and walkways.
Spread across this vast expanse of land, and consisting of a public park that will be larger than London’s Hyde Park, the Ellinikon will also include:
- Health and medical facilities
- Sports academies
- Retail destinations
- Hospitality venues
- Cultural centres.
Given that the Ellinikon is being developed on the site of the former airport and encompassing the 2004 Olympic kayak and canoe venue, the project design makes use of its legacy by turning the airport runways into walkways lined with trees, recycling and reusing other airport infrastructure, and repurposing the Olympic venue into a 3.7-acre lake. In fact, the renaturalization of the former heavily concretized site is a key focus point for the project’s development. Reintroducing plant species has meant that more than 30,000 new trees, representing 86 species (both native and adapted), were chosen to be reintegrated into the site, while taking the local ecosystem requirements and soil profile needs into consideration. The lake, wetlands and a bioswale network are being developed so that they support flood mitigation throughout the site, but also act as reservoirs for emergency drought and fire control.
Driven by the principles of a smart city, the Ellinikon puts people and placemaking at its heart. This is achieved by integrating human contact areas with green spaces – both elements will be underpinned by cutting-edge technology. Examples of the technology used include smart infrastructure, fast internet connectivity, enhanced mobility via bike and e-bike sharing schemes and using the Information of Things (IoT) to improve waste and water management. When it comes to placemaking, community events, open air plazas, sports facilities, local art installations, nature-based play and wellness activities will create a myriad of opportunities for residents and visitors alike to engage with each other, and with their surroundings.
What brings the entire Ellinikon project together, however, is the belief in sustainable design as a means of improving the wellbeing of people, and the planet. That’s why the Ellinikon is set to become carbon neutral in 35 years. One way of achieving this target is the decontamination of already-existing soil, rather than using imported soil. To add to this, upcycling legacy concrete from the former airport is another way of reducing carbon usage across the site. Bioclimatic and energy-efficient buildings, a large-scale wastewater treatment plant, and local renewable energy production are all climate resilient solutions that the Ellinikon will be built on. We can’t wait to experience the Ellinikon once it’s completed!
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