Urban Addendum

City planning finds its validation in the intuitive recognition that a burgeoning market society can not be trusted to produce spontaneously a habitable, sanitary, or even efficient city, much less a beautiful one. - Murray Bookchin, The Limits of the City (1986).

Thursday, April 25, 2013

NIMBY and the vulnerable....

NIMBY (not in my back yard) is the opposition by residents to a proposal for a new infrastructure or development, that will be located near to their houses and it will influence their value. These kind of developments a lot of times are related to environmental issues and can have a negative impact in the quality of the environment (for example: landfills, desalination plants, power plants, industrial parks or even toxic waste dumps). And as the elite can easily influence decisions and protect their interests, the poor are receiving the biggest impact of these infrastructures in their everyday life, incapable to resist and with no political voice.

In Athens, Greece there are two big landfills that are located in the Phili and in Ano Liossia, two areas that are constantly downgraded and the ground water and soil pollution is such, that epidemiological studies are top-secret. In 2010, the Greek Government tried to proceed another program of complementary landfills for Athens at Grammatiko and Keratea, two other areas that a large percentage of low income residents of Athens are living in. On the paper it seems that - supported with environmental studies - modern technologies and recycling plants will be implemented on these sites. However, there is a unanimous lack of trust from the population of Grammatiko and Keratea towards the Greek Government’s plans. They believe that the decision of locating the landfills there is unfair and that it has been chosen because of the poor populations that dwell in the area, as they are are vulnerable and unable to influence government's plans. They support that according to the law, the construction of landfills in these regions is illegal, as they are close to declared archaeological sites and a landscape of great natural beauty. The plans of construction of the landfill had as result the beginning of a great movement of protests and demonstrations from the residents for 3 months. A significant number of riot police had been sent to the area to protect the constructions and there were incidences of violence against the local population followed by excessive use of tear gas and the construction had to stop as the case is going to the court .

Demonstrations of the residents of Keratea.


Post a Comment