Greek public space has always reflected democratic values and freedom of speech. The ancient agora was the meeting place for philosophical discussions, cultural development and exchange of knowledge. Hence, it is a significant component of the Greek culture. The present situation in Greece has led to shrinkage and degradation of the public space through privatization. Urban outdoor spaces have been neglected, and this has resulted to a lack of interest in the public realm. Additionally, Greece is located at the southernmost part of Europe and has already been greatly affected by climate change. Urban heat island phenomenon is evident in most Greek cities and outdoor spaces are no longer comfortable.
As an urban planner, I believe that public spaces are of vital importance for social development. Outdoor spaces should be attractive for people in order to regain their interest for public issues. Accessibility and comfort are key factors to achieve both environmental and social sustainability. Climate responsive urban design is a great way to improve the microclimate in Greek outdoor spaces and contributes to a more energy efficient built environment. My objective is to optimize outdoor thermal comfort conditions through urban design in order to give the priority to the public space that has been lost.
Ioannis Karakounos – Greece
Ioannis holds a Diploma in Planning and Regional Development from the University of Thessaly, and completed his MSc in Environmental Engineering at the Democritus University of Thrace, Greece. He has worked as an urban planning intern at Doxiadis Associates firm in Athens, and as a junior urban designer at the architectural office AD Studio in Kalamata, Greece.