Athens’ Resilience Journey
Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world, having been continuously inhabited for over 3,000 years. Many consider it the cradle of western civilization.
But recent economic challenges across Greece, including austerity measures that drove cuts to social services, have led to high unemployment in Athens, averaging over 50% unemployment among young people.
The city has made significant efforts to expand welfare services and provide citizens with critical relief – food, shelter, childcare, and healthcare services – but this has strained city resources, especially those needed to shore up aging building stock and infrastructure. Over 30% of buildings in the city were constructed before the first building code for earthquake protection, a serious vulnerability in a country with the sixth highest seismic activity level in the world.
Athens also faces risks from ongoing environmental pressures. In recent years, heatwaves have increased in intensity and frequency, straining healthcare, emergency response services, and the electrical grid. In response, the city will undertake a large urban regeneration plan, which will provide long-term risk management for climate shocks.
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