The slums of the 1920s become cities

The slums of the 1920s become cities

Regulars of the Zefyros open-air cinema and the basic Oikonomou household tavern in Petralona might discover it exhausting to think about that till the early Nineteen Sixties this a part of Athens’ fashionable neighborhood was the slum depicted within the iconic drama “Synoikia to Oneiro” (“A Neighborhood Named The Dream”), directed by and starring Alekos Alexandrakis. Even additional again, within the Twenties, it was an deserted quarry on the slopes of Philopappou Hill till it grew to become house to over 800 refugee households fleeing Attaleia (now Antalya) and Alagia (Alanya) in Asia Minor.

When the movie was shot in 1961 – with the residents as extras – many makeshift homes that had been cobbled collectively to satisfy the sudden want for lodging attributable to the inflow of refugees had been nonetheless there.

Nevertheless, a authorities plan to construct a lot of first rate homes made with stones from the demolished conflict faculty, and specifically the development of the well-known trendy constructing designed by Elli Vasilikioti on the ring street of Philopappou in 1967, marked the top of a housing disaster on this specific neighborhood of Athens that had lasted almost half a century.

Comparable tales of refugee settlements are the main focus of “House, Reminiscence and the Legacy of the 1923 Inhabitants Alternate between Greece and Turkey”, a joint Greek-Turkish analysis program.

Additionally identified by the extra succinct title “Ηomeacross”, this system research the city and architectural dimension of this huge displacement of inhabitants, which has reworked each the locations left behind and the locations of arrival of refugees. The problem of absorbing this sudden inflow from Asia Minor didn’t final a decade or perhaps a technology; it was a course of that spanned a lot of the twentieth century, leaving a strong imprint on the architectural, zonal, and social evolution of the cities, cities, and villages the place these inhabitants settled.

The mission additionally marks the primary time that Greek and Turkish researchers (primarily architects, but in addition historians, political scientists, and so on.) have joined forces with three totally different establishments on either side of the Aegean Sea (the Hellenic Basis for Political European and International Research, the Middle for Asia Minor Research and the Izmir Institute of Know-how, which is an English-speaking public college) have joined forces to check the long-term results of such an emotionally charged historic occasion on the city atmosphere.

The primary fruits of their labor could be discovered on homeacross.eliamep.gr (a trilingual web site that’s always up to date with new info), but in addition in a big exhibition housed within the Pireos Avenue annex of the Benaki Museum. (benaki.org) till February. .

The work carried out by the group, whose nucleus is made up of six Greeks and 4 Turks, focuses on the impression of the inhabitants change on two administrative areas: Attica and Izmir. By conducting in depth area analysis within the villages of Izmir and the neighborhoods of Athens and Piraeus, learning the archives of each nations and speaking to the descendants of refugees, the group has drawn up an interesting “map”. filled with variations but in addition of similarities.

Depth of the disaster

“Many Greek properties had been looted, whereas claims for compensation had been additionally filed by residents whose houses had been within the sphere of the conflicts from 1919 to 1922”

The largest distinction between the 2 areas was, in fact, the depth of the disaster, which manifests itself not solely within the exact figures (lower than 400,000 Muslims had been “exchanged” for greater than 1.2 million Greeks) , but in addition within the acuteness of the housing downside. has been. The Muslims moved primarily to villages that had been deserted by the Greeks; the Greeks, nevertheless, needed to begin from scratch, as there have been no homes prepared to maneuver into. In response to the Athens Municipal Archives, originally of December 1922, round 70,000 refugees had been dwelling in 130 makeshift camps unfold throughout town.

“Whereas Greece wanted to plan and construct lots of of recent settlements, Turkey solely wanted a couple of dozen,” says architectural historian and mission supervisor Kalliopi Amygdalou. “That does not imply that the Turks did not have issues. Many Greek properties had been looted, whereas claims for compensation had been additionally filed by residents whose houses had been within the sphere of battle from 1919 to 1922. This created a type of competitors for sources between two teams of various populations. Circumstances of corruption had additionally been recorded: non-refugees claiming homes previously owned by Greeks and discovering themselves with the rights to 2 and even three new properties.

In Attica, nevertheless, refugees had solely three routes to discovering semi-permanent or everlasting housing: by organized state-run applications, by constructing their very own houses with out permits and with no matter means obtainable, or by discovering an acceptable present dwelling on their very own. The 1928 census reveals the extent of the issue: the province of Attica had 271,478 refugees, the municipality of Athens hosted 129,380 (i.e. 28% of its complete inhabitants) and Piraeus 101,185 (40.2%) .

The troublesome first decade was marked by a rush by the Refugee Settlement Board (EAP) to construct fundamental lodging items. They had been tiny, one-room homes on the bottom flooring—prefabricated picket packing containers, primarily—or, at finest, two-story constructions of 4 such items every, normally crammed round a central courtyard. Every room was a small core put in by the state with the reasoning that the refugees would discover a technique to construct on it. “The state principally accredited emergency structure, fundamental survival infrastructure (no water or sewage),” Amygdalou notes. By 1930, the EAP (established in 1923 with a mortgage from the League of Nations) had constructed 6,782 residences in Athens and 5,134 in Piraeus, which corresponded to 43.2% of its complete nationwide settlement actions. refugees.

The scenario modified within the second half of the Twenties when a brand new legislation was handed in 1927 permitting greater buildings, however just for refugee camps. The measure to elevate restrictions on horizontal building was prolonged nationwide two years later, paving the way in which for the primary residence buildings. It is protected to say that stress to deal with the housing disaster has precipitated zoning and legislative initiatives that may in any other case have taken years to return to fruition. One other landmark legislation was handed in 1929, encouraging personal initiative by authorizing constructing cooperatives.

In impact, this amounted to the state offering land or monetary help to refugees who fashioned cooperatives and took accountability for constructing their very own neighborhoods. By 1933, some 10,500 refugees had joined forces to kind greater than 320 constructing partnerships. Other than the brand new legislation, they had been additionally boosted by the signing of the Greek-Turkish Friendship Settlement in 1930 in Ankara by Eleftherios Venizelos and Ismet Inonu within the presence of Kemal Atatürk, which dashed any hope they’d of returning. of their native lands. .

On account of these developments, the Thirties had been marked by a constructing frenzy and by 1940 town had acquired a number of the most formidable housing developments of that period, such because the refugee residence buildings on the Alexandras Avenue, designed by eminent architects and embodying the spirit of the nascent modernist motion.

This rise has not at all times been painless, nevertheless, Amygdalou factors out, citing the instance of Drapetsona. “The world had began to be zoned for building and land was being offered and purchased on the border between the 2 districts earlier than 1922, as stress to develop Piraeus to the west had been constructing for a while. However the arrival of the refugees brought on the sudden look of an enormous slum, forcing the state to expropriate the land, below the sturdy response of the traders affected. Lots of of individuals have gone to courtroom, with a lot of their instances dragging on for many years earlier than reaching some kind of conclusion,” she explains.

“A lesson for all”

I ask Amygdalou what, in her view, has been the best legacy of this epic endeavor to combine refugees from Asia Minor. She highlights social housing and the significance of the welfare state, a job that has just lately been poignantly recalled by the pandemic.

“The dialog about how Greece has handled the refugee situation has grow to be topical and priceless once more after the pandemic and now the vitality disaster has dropped at thoughts the demise of the welfare state over the previous many years,” she says. .

“The historical past of the settlement of those refugees is due to this fact largely the historical past of social housing in Greece. And it is a vital a part of the historical past of its infrastructure, its modernization and the welfare state. It’s also an vital chapter within the historical past of technical providers, that’s, of the synergy between the State and structure for city interventions. It is a lesson for everybody,” she provides.

Solely a handful of refugee houses survive right now within the Panormou district of central Athens, which was as soon as a part of a a lot bigger settlement developed by newcomers from Asia Minor within the Twenties. [ALEXANDROS VLACHOS/AMNA]
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“The earlier than” and “after” of the settlement of refugees within the western suburb of Piraeus, in Drapetsona, as proven in a publication of the Ministry of Social Affairs in 1957.
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Stone homes from the demolished Warfare College changed the cobbled-together slum within the foothills of Philopappou, within the Petralona district.
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