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 onerous 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 Nineteen Twenties, it was an deserted quarry on the slopes of Philopappou Hill till it grew to become residence 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 respectable homes made with stones from the demolished battle faculty, and specifically the development of the well-known trendy constructing designed by Elli Vasilikioti on the ring highway of Philopappou in 1967, marked the tip of a housing disaster on this explicit neighborhood of Athens that had lasted practically half a century.

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

Additionally recognized by the extra succinct title “Ηomeacross”, this system research the city and architectural dimension of this huge displacement of inhabitants, which has remodeled 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 robust 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 forth.) 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 Heart for Asia Minor Research and the Izmir Institute of Expertise, 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 surroundings.

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

The work carried out by the group, whose nucleus is made up of six Greeks and 4 Turks, focuses on the affect of the inhabitants alternate on two administrative areas: Attica and Izmir. By conducting in depth discipline analysis within the villages of Izmir and the neighborhoods of Athens and Piraeus, finding out the archives of each international locations and speaking to the descendants of refugees, the group has drawn up a captivating “map”. stuffed 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 most important 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. Based on the Athens Municipal Archives, initially of December 1922, round 70,000 refugees had been residing in 130 makeshift camps unfold throughout the town.

“Whereas Greece wanted to plan and construct a whole lot of latest 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 sort 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 means of organized state-run packages, by constructing their very own houses with out permits and with no matter means out there, or by discovering an appropriate current 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 tough first decade was marked by a rush by the Refugee Settlement Board (EAP) to construct primary lodging items. They had been tiny, one-room homes on the bottom ground—prefabricated wood containers, primarily—or, at finest, two-story buildings of 4 such items every, often 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 method to construct on it. “The state principally accepted emergency structure, primary 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 state of affairs modified within the second half of the Nineteen Twenties when a brand new legislation was handed in 1927 permitting increased buildings, however just for refugee camps. The measure to raise restrictions on horizontal development was prolonged nationwide two years later, paving the way in which for the primary condominium buildings. It is protected to say that strain to handle the housing disaster has precipitated zoning and legislative initiatives that may in any other case have taken years to come back 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 duty for constructing their very own neighborhoods. By 1933, some 10,500 refugees had joined forces to type greater than 320 constructing partnerships. Aside from 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 that they had of returning. of their native lands. .

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

This rise has not all the time been painless, nevertheless, Amygdalou factors out, citing the instance of Drapetsona. “The world had began to be zoned for development and land was being offered and acquired on the border between the 2 districts earlier than 1922, as strain to increase Piraeus to the west had been constructing for a while. However the arrival of the refugees precipitated the sudden look of an enormous slum, forcing the state to expropriate the land, underneath the sturdy response of the traders affected. A whole lot of individuals have gone to courtroom, with lots of their circumstances dragging on for many years earlier than reaching some type 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 task that has just lately been poignantly recalled by the pandemic.

“The dialog about how Greece has handled the refugee difficulty has turn into topical and useful once more after the pandemic and now the power disaster has delivered to 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 crucial a part of the historical past of its infrastructure, its modernization and the welfare state. It is usually an essential chapter within the historical past of technical companies, 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 as we speak 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 Nineteen Twenties. [ALEXANDROS VLACHOS/AMNA]
“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.
Stone homes from the demolished Battle College changed the cobbled-together slum within the foothills of Philopappou, within the Petralona district.

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