News & Events
News & Events
Thessaloniki is the largest city in Central Macedonia and the second largest city in Greece. It is the center of the Municipality of Thessaloniki and the capital of the Regional Unit of Thessaloniki. It is also located in the western part of the Regional Unit of Thessaloniki.
The city of Thessaloniki is amphitheatrically structured. This amphitheatrical structure begins at the southwest side of Chortiatis Mountain and ends up to Thermaikos Gulf. It is also surrounded by the suburban forest of Seih- Sou. Chortiatis Mountain is located in the southeast side of the city and it constitutes a natural fortification and source of part of the water which is used for its water supply.
To the northern side of the city rises Mount Sivri, which is separated from Chortiatis by the passage of Derveni. Furthermore, the water element is also important in the composition of the urban web of the city since, apart from the four rivers that run through the Prefecture of Thessaloniki and flow west of the city (Axios, Loudias, Echedoros) and south (Aliakmonas), the existence of many urban streams is also remarkable.
Thessaloniki consists of the Municipalities of Thessaloniki, Kalamaria, Neapoli - Sykeon, Pavlou Mela, Kordelio - Evosmos, Ampelokipi - Menemeni, Pylaia - Chortiatis. In the Municipality of Thessaloniki there is the historic city center with all its cultural infrastructure.
The dominant units are:
• The Historic Center (Kato Poli), with dominant commercial, cultural and economic functions (Municipality of Thessaloniki)
• the preserved traditional settlement of Ano Poli, with cultural landmarks of the city (Municipality of Thessaloniki, Municipality of Neapolis - Sykeon, Municipality of Pavlou Mela)
• the west entry gate to the city center, ‘Western Thessaloniki΄, with preserved industrial buildings and hotel units (Municipality of Thessaloniki (Xirokrini), Municipality of Kordelio - Evosmos, Municipality of Ampelokipi)
• ‘Eastern Thessaloniki’, with its refugee flows in the past and the newly built houses in more recent years (Municipality of Thessaloniki (Toumpa, Charilaou), Municipality of Kalamaria, Municipality of Pylaia - Chortiatis)
Throughout its history, Thessaloniki has played a dominant role both nationally and internationally as it has always been a key point that connects East and West. It was founded by King Cassander in 315 BC, after the unification of more than 26 settlements (Bakalakis 1985). On October 27, 1912, the protocol of surrender of Thessaloniki to the Greek state was signed by the Ottoman administration. The beginning of the 20th century was a period of development and it was established as the cosmopolitan center of its time.
The urban development of the city of Thessaloniki has radically changed the topography and physiognomy of the area. Historical landmarks that characteristically shaped the architecture and urban planning of Thessaloniki are (Strategic Management Plan of Urban Green Municipality of Thessaloniki 2015): 1. The expansion of the urban web beyond the walls and the opening of the coastal front, which began in 1873 with the demolition of the walls and the creation of the area of the Countryside. 2.
The Great Fire of the Historic Center, in 1917, which destroyed the 32% of the total then area. After the fire, for the reconstruction of the city, the government formed by Venizelos appointed the French architect-urban planner Ernest Emprar as the person in charge of the Thessaloniki City Planning Committee. However, his plan was never fully implemented. 3. The Asia Minor catastrophe, in 1922, the Greek-Turkish Population Exchange and the settlement of a large number of refugees in the city of Thessaloniki, who doubled the population, created significant housing needs. 4.
The rapid reconstruction and the expansion of the city in the period 1950 - 1970. 5. The Earthquake of 1978, which caused the demolition of classical buildings and their replacement by apartment buildings, without taking into account any rules of housing and urban planning and without provision for the integration of green spaces.
URBAN GREEN AREAS/ GREEN RECONSTRUCTION
The Thessaloniki Urban Area (TUA) is a very populated area compared to the average population density of other European cities. It is an area of 150 km2 and it is still expanding. Its inhabitants are about 1.2 million. However, its free spaces are insufficient and fragmented, and they have an unequal and poor distribution in the urban web. Also, the vegetation is minimal and often neglected. The average of the municipal urban green is about 1.6 m2 per inhabitant, which is six times lower than the lower internationally accepted limit, which is 10 m2 per inhabitant.
In the region of Toumba the ratio corresponds to 0.76 m2 of green per inhabitant. This proportion reaches to 2.73 m2 of green if it takes into account the suburban forest of Seih-Sou, which was reforested in the 1930s. However, in 1997 the 55% of its area was burnt down, which greatly affected the climate of the city. Many green spaces were sacrificed on behalf of the residential and general development from 1970 until now, as in Ano Poli -which was densely populated- Retziki (Municipality of Neapoli – Sikies), Panorama (Municipality Pylaia – Hortiati) and Pilaia (Municipality Pylaia – Hortiati) where only the 70% of the urban green areas was rebuilt. Furthermore, only few green spaces were formed such as the Park of Nea Elvetia and the remodeling of the parks of the coastal front (Municipality of Thessaloniki).
The insufficiency of green areas significantly enhances the environmental degradation of the city. The increase in the number of hot days (maximum daily temperature above 35 degrees Celsius) and tropical nights (minimum night temperature above 20 degrees Celsius) are related to this. The situation is even worse in densely populated areas of low altitudes and distant from the sea.
PERCENTAGES OF URBAN GREEN AND SEA FRONT IN THESSALONIKI
In the table below, the data shown are for the parks of the Municipality of Thessaloniki. In the Municipality of Thessaloniki, the green spaces are about 905.245sm. which corresponds to 2.95% of its area.
The Municipal green spaces which are managed by the Municipality of Thessaloniki are divided into:
Parks, islets, etc., with a percentage of 2.85% of the area of the Municipality of Thessaloniki.
The green space area is 527,475m2.
Street Trees, with a percentage 2.05% of the area of the Municipality of Thessaloniki.
The green space area is 378,480m2.
Table 1. Percentages of green per inhabitant according to the urban parks of Municipality of Thessaloniki.
Table 2. Ratio of parks in relation to the total area of each Municipal Community of the Municipality of Thessaloniki
Equally important is the coastal front of the Municipality of Thessaloniki and its connection with the urban streams that run through the urban web of the city. The supply of urban streams is obvious at every level, however there are several factors that lead to their degradation.
The illegal construction, litter pollution and roadway expansions in areas of streams are some of the causes that degrade urban streams. In addition to the total pollution of the natural environment, there are consequences related to water retention and the occurrence of floods.
Nowadays, in Thessaloniki, the existing urban streams, active or paved, create visual and functional continuities with the urban green spaces, since creating special microclimates, although degraded, they create further space for the formation of urban greenery.
Thus, if the urban green spaces are taken into account as inextricably linked units that end in the extensive coastal front of the city, the possibility for a plan of environmental improvement and sustainability of Thessaloniki is created.
URBAN PARKS AND ORGANIZED URBAN GREEN SPACES
The city of Thessaloniki is located in a transitional climate zone, due to the sea with which it is adjacent and given its urban character, its climate is characterized by a mosaic of microclimates. In general, according to the National Meteorological Service, its overall character is humid subtropical (Cfa) - Mediterranean hinterland with mild winters, dry and very hot summers - found in semi-arid climate (BSk), according to the Köppen climate classification (liquid mesotherm).
Based on meteorological data, the temperature shows its highest values in July and the lowest in January, with the annual range exceeding 20 ° C, while during the cold season very cold air masses suddenly invade. The Municipality of Thessaloniki is an Urban Thermal Islet in relation to its suburban environment.
The area of Thessaloniki belongs to the Mediterranean vegetation zone.
Climate Change: Mitigation
In December 2014, the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (now the Ministry of the Environment and Energy / MEE), the Institute for Biomedical Research of the Academy of Athens and the Bank of Greece (BoG), signed a memorandum of cooperation aimed at:
• Addressing the effects of climate change at a country level with specific adaptation actions in all areas.
• Utilizing the experience of the Bank of Greece and the interdisciplinary Committee for the Study of the Impact of Climate Change, in matters of economic and other effects of climate change.
This cooperation also concerned the drafting of the text of the National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change, which has a direct impact on the level of legislation and policy for each city, which makes Thessaloniki one of the main targets for improvement in this direction.
Also in 2011, Thessaloniki signed the Mayors' Agreement on Climate and Energy, which is open to all local authorities with a democratic composition of elected representatives, regardless their size and stage of implementation of their energy and climate policies.
By signing the Agreement, the Municipality of Thessaloniki is committed to adopt an integrated approach to mitigating and adapting to climate change. It has developed, within the first two years of their accession, a Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan, with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030 and increasing resilience to climate change.
Climate Change: Adaption
In 2016, the National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change was created with the main goal of documenting the need to develop an appropriate institutional and economic framework to support public and private adaptation actions to the effects of climate change.
In the light of the need to plan climate change adaptation actions, it is interesting to consider reviewing the administrative boundaries of Local Government Organizations so that spatial units affected (or estimated to be affected) by climate change are responsible for a Local Government Organization.
In a similar case, however, at the level of wider urban complexes, such as in Thessaloniki or Athens, it is considered necessary to move to a metropolitan administration so that the adaptation plans are prepared and implemented in a unified manner. Otherwise, if each Municipality prepares and implements on its own the plan and actions for adaptation to climate change, the results will be limited and the allocation of funds ineffective in terms of the desired result.
As for the coastal areas, the effects of climate change are rather milder for Greece compared to other parts of Europe, as the sea level rise is estimated not to exceed 0.5m. So, necessary adjustment measures are:
(a) gradual decline of coastal construction in vulnerable areas where possible
(b) infrastructure planning in coastal areas based on the assumption that the sea level will rise by 0.5m
(c) protection of coastal ecosystems as natural flood defenses. Finally, the focus in adapting to climate change in coastal areas is to reduce the erosion of beaches in areas that are directly threatened by the seashore, protection projects or other structures.
In addition, the participation of Thessaloniki in the 100 Resilient Cities program pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation was created as a result of social problems, environmental degradation and lack of cooperation of different levels of government that concern both the city of Thessaloniki and many other cities around the world. This assumption is at the heart of the 100 Resilient Cities program pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation (100RC).
The Resilient Thessaloniki program - Schedule:
March 2016: the Mayor of Thessaloniki announces the opening of the Office of Urban Resilience in the context of the inclusion of Thessaloniki in the program of "100 Resilient Cities pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation".
March - May 2016: (Phase A) Capturing the image of the city and selecting priorities
June - December 2016: (Phase B) Establishment of the "Strategy for the Sustainability of Thessaloniki"
January 2017 - 2019: Implementation of the Strategic Planning