athens resilient city: green corridor in exarcheia

athens resilient city: green corridor in exarcheia

location: Tositsa and Zosimadon streets, Exarcheia, Athens, Greece  |  area: 7.070 m2  |  design: 2020  | status: ongoing

The brief called for a “Green Corridor” through Tositsa and Zosimadon streets, in order to connect the Archaeological Museum Park with Strefi Hill. The main design principle and orientation was the upgrade of the area by the introduction of Green and Blue Infrastructure. Such infrastructure is considered the greenery and biodiversity enhacement, the upgrade of the rainwater drainage system; to a system of rainwater management that directs the water towards the nearby vegetation, the sustainable mobility improvement, the inclusion of the area in recycling programs and the interconnection of the green areas and local landmarks through ecological routes called “Green Corridors”.

The design strategy aims to resolve the following crucial factors in order to achieve the goals of resiliency towards climate change, sustainability and urban revitalization:
-Climate factors with the mitigation of the intensity of the urban heat island phenomenon, reduction of temperatures during the summer months, improvement of the microclimate and thermal comfort indicators with the use of high and low vegetation that will allow adequate shading.
-Rainwater management.
-Enhancement of sustainable urban mobility
-Enhancement of biodiversity.
-Inclusion of the area in the waste recycling programs.
-Provision of adequate urban equipment.
-Functional and aesthetic upgrade, organization of a coherent and consistent with its location in the city urban space.
-Visual and functional unification of Tositsa and Zosimadon streets in order to create one unified Green Corridor.
-Acoustic comfort.

The interventions to be implemented on Tositsa Street include the following:
The width of the road is reduced to a total of 3,50m on Tositsa Street and the streets perpendicular to Tositsa, in a depth of approximately 15,00m. The parking spaces are diminished to the absolutely necessary. The width of the sidewalks is increased to an average of 7,30m to the south and an average of 8,55m to the north. The width of the sidewalks is divided into four functional zones as follows:
-the first pedestrian zone is located between the buildings and the existing Morus Platanifolia trees,
-the stop-rest zone occupies the growth width of the Morus Platanifolia trees in each building block and its width is 1,70m,
-the second pedestrian zone which is located between the stop-rest zone and the zone of the new plantings-drainage,
-the zone of the new plantings-drainage occupies the remainder of the sidewalk until the street edge.
In the zones of the new plantings-drainage are placed new tree rows consisting of Jacaranda Mimosifolia trees. The aforementioned tree was chosen because of its good adaptation to the climate of Athens, its longevity, its size, its foliage density (moderate density so that flowering plants thrives under its crown) and its cosmetic value.
The addition of the new tree lines is expected to ensure significant shading and cooling of the road in a period of five years.
Between the new trees are introduced flower beds. The flower beds will include low vegetation of a variety of flowering or non-flowering ornamental plants.
Along the planting-drainage zone, in each building block, an underground rainwater drainage area is provided. The rainwater of the road, sidewalks and gutters of the buildings are directed to these areas. The rainwater drainage of each building block is connected to that of the previous block and the next through piping. In this way a unified system is formed. The rainwater from Zosimadon Street will be directed to this system. Part of the rainwater will be absorbed by the vegetation, part will be evaporated and part will be filtered through the substrate to the ground and will be directed to the aquifer. Only the overflow of the system will lead directly to the city rainwater drainage pipe.

The intersections of Tositsa Street with the vertical streets are solved in a standard manner:
-At each intersection there are pedestrian crossings with the required signage and material and color differentiation of the road.
-Ramps for people with mobility limitations are placed at the corners of the sidewalks of each building block that lead directly to the crossings.
Recycling: In the vertical roads to Tositsa Street; in the sidewalk widening areas, recesses are created for the required garbage bins. In these recesses, apart from the blue bins (packaging recycling) that already exist in the area, it is proposed to place compost and glass bottle recycling bins.
Urban equipment:
-Seating arrangements of two different configurations with alternative colorings are planned to be placed on the sidewalks, in the stop-rest zone.

The interventions to be implemented on Zosimadon Street include the following:
The street is listed as a Pedestrian Street. Due to the particularly steep slopes of the ground (from 9% to 17%) it was deemed necessary to form two sections of the road with a stepped configuration because in addition to the legal requirements it is necessary to ensure ease of walking (first zone). A smaller section of the road is also shaped with steps so that there is a smoothing and adjustment of the levels in direct contact with the entrances of the buildings (third zone).
The road was divided into three zones in width as follows:
-The first zone was formed mostly with steps; in the sections where there are building entrances, landings are formed.
In the first zone is placed a row of Bauhinia Purpurea trees.
-The second zone is intended for emergency vehicles according to the legislation requirements.
-The third zone is formed with steps in the section between Eressou Street and Methoni Pedestrian Street in order to adjust the levels in direct contact with the buildings entrances in front of which landings are created. The remainder of the third zone is unified with the second zone.

Projects referred to above, dated from 1998 to 2018, are realised within the company MOBarchitects that was officially solved in 2021.
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