Land for building an oikos (house)
Every piece of urban land in Greek is termed ‘oikopedo’, which means land purposed for building. Τhe term points out building’s preponderance over public space in urban practice and Greek culture. Imprinted in the language the prompt for over-exploitation & overbuilding prescribed the evolution of modern Athens. Whereas the building block is set out by the law as the elementary unit of urban planning, it was finally the land plot that proved out to be the module which defined the modern cityscape of Athens. Due to its characteristics, small, overbuilt and overcrowded, it contributed to this fetching urban diversity and density of Athens, though not without problems.
Land plots, especially in the center of the city are generally quite small since the fragmentation of the land was encouraged by the state as another policy to create extra value out of land without spending any money. The first Building Code of 1929 allowed for new constructions even in plots that gave a minimum floor area of 40sq.m. Fragmentation of land combined with high floor area ratio and high building coverage ratio, which reached even 80%-90% during 30s when the building regulation was quite relaxed, squeezed any free –green space out of the land plot.
Reviewing the Athenian urbanization process, what comes out is a need for a shift in attitudes regarding built space towards the prioritization of public, ceding private & built land back to nature and the public.