Post-industrial Trajectories of Mediterranean European Cities: The Case of Post-Olympics Athens
This paper deals with clusters of post-industrial urban economies and their impacts on the spatial restructuring and the relandscaping of the contemporary inner city. It investigates such impacts by studying recent economic, spatial and landscape transformations of Athens, a large Mediterranean city in the geographical and economic periphery of Europe. The first part of the paper reviews earlier research on clusters of post-industrial urban economies and their spatial impacts, while attempting to present the topic in an international context. The second part focuses on a case study of Athens, Greece. It examines the planned clusters of athletics, culture and leisure that were developed for the 2004 Olympics; and, the spontaneous clusters of both culture, leisure and creative activities, and technology-intensive and knowledge-rich activities and advanced financial intermediary services that have gradually developed in Athens' inner-city areas during the past decade. The paper documents land use shifts and landscape transformations while highlighting the processes of formation of these spontaneous clusters and the urban policies involved; it also discusses urban governance issues in relation to the management of Athens' clusters, both planned and spontaneous. Finally, it draws conclusions about differences in post-industrial trajectories among large cities in the core of Europe and large Mediterranean cities in the developing periphery of Europe.