Innovative Urban Renewal in Athens
With The Ellinikon, Lamda Development is realizing a new smart city in Athens that will offer residents and visitors a natural place to live and work sustainably. The 3.5 km long coastal area to be developed is located south of the center of Athens and, with an area of around 620 hectares, is one of the largest urban renewal projects in Europe. In addition to project developer Lamda Development, a number of renowned offices are involved in the implementation: The Foster + Partners team designed the urban master plan and realized the Riviera Tower. Kengo Kuma Architects is planning the Riviera Galleria, Aedas the Vouliagmenis Mixed Used Tower & Commercial Hub and the landscape architecture team from Sasaki the 200 hectare Ellinikon Park.
Smart living: Digital twin shows vision of living, work, leisure and recreation
Specifically, the plans include new housing developments, which are to contain around 10,000 residential units, as well as parks with a variety of green and recreational areas and a number of hotels, shopping centers, museums, cultural, leisure and educational facilities. A total of around 75,000 new jobs are to be created. One of these new facilities is the Ellinikon Experience Center. Spanning 4,800 m2 and five themed areas - Living a New Era, Living in Nature, Living the Future, Living Smart and Living by the Sea - visitors:inside can experience the history of Ellinikon, from the district's former use as an airport and air force base to its vision as a future smart city. In virtual and augmented reality, they can discover a digital twin of The Ellinikon for themselves or learn more about the Smart City on large screens - such as how innovative infrastructures will future-proof the city and what lies behind the project's promise to become "the smartest and greenest place to live in Europe."
In the Ellinikon Experience Center, visitors can learn more about the smart city in five themed areas and discover a digital twin of The Ellinikon. The Riviera Tower by Foster + Partners can be seen here in the center. © Lamda Development / The Ellinikon
Marine location, sustainability and quality of life
The central aspect for the master plan is the geographical location. The proximity to the sea influences the design from the very beginning, because nature should make a positive contribution to the quality of life in the new Smart City. To this end, in addition to the sea, the publicly accessible Ellinikon Park plays a central role, offering numerous green and recreational areas and, with around 50 km of cycle paths and footpaths, providing an infrastructural link between both the existing urban fabric and the new housing developments and the coast. The new coastal park is expected to have a variety of digital structures: wireless connectivity, AR navigation, intelligent transportation systems, and smart energy and water management systems. Overall, the goal is to have a climate-positive impact by making the park self-sufficient in terms of electricity and irrigation needs in the long term, for example. In addition, since the proximity to the sea has a strong impact on the microclimate, historical meteorological GIS terrain data was analyzed in detail during the early design phase to optimize the master planning. The effect of the sea, for example, reduces heating and cooling requirements, thus naturally paying towards The Ellinikon's sustainability goals.
The Vouliagmenis Mixed Used Tower & Commercial Hub, designed by Aedas, will offer residents and visitors a new place to work as well as for recreation and leisure in an area of approximately 185,000 m2. © Lamda Development / The Ellinikon
Planning by means of simulations: Intelligent mobility
The Smart City is designed as a 15-minute city - so mobility is a central planning aspect from the very beginning. Among other things, traffic simulations were used to optimize the road network - in other words, to plan traffic as efficiently and sustainably as possible and, at the same time, to integrate different modes of transport in the best possible way. In detail, the concept is based on micro- and active mobility - combined with modern, digital infrastructure: intelligent parking systems, intelligent traffic monitoring, bicycle, e-bike and e-scooter sharing and e-delivery robots. The aim is to offer users a wide range of sustainable mobility options and to reduce local pollution by minimizing car traffic.
Good ambitions as a basis for planning
According to the definition of the term, a smart city essentially comprises six aspects: Smart Living, Smart Mobility, Smart People, Smart Environment, Smart Economy and Smart Governance. The planning of The Ellinikon is to pay attention to a meaningful implementation of these aspects. The 15-minute Smart City stands for resilient development; the concept pursues the goal of a net zero carbon footprint in terms of sustainability. Project developer Lamda Development is relying on interdisciplinary expertise, digital tools, and sustainable and technology-supported urban and mobility concepts to achieve this. The project aims to become an international pioneer in coastal and environmental design, smart living, and sustainable, low-carbon urban regeneration. Even though the development of the project and the achievement of the pushed goals are still pending, one can optimistically look forward to the next milestones.