Nicosia – the last divided city
Following the division of the city in two distinct areas, a process of population exchange took place between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides. Both sides had to face a great challenge of housing an important number of refugees while dealing at the same time with the properties that were evacuated. Housing rehabilitation and neighbourhood infrastructure was thus high in the agenda of projects developed by the bi-communal Nicosia Master Plan, aiming at supporting the creation of an enduring local community. Between 1985 and 1990 two important programs took place in the walled city: the housing programs at the areas of Chrysaliniotissa and Taht-el-Kale. The objectives elaborated by the Nicosia Master Plan (NMP) for the historic centre have been implemented through a combination of actions: through the provisions of the Local Plan, through economic incentives given to private owners by the government and through public investment projects.
This tour will visit such housing regeneration projects in the historic centre of Nicosia (both north and south) which attempt to revitalize the deprived areas of the inner city, rebuild physical infrastructure, direct local and external resources towards the needs of local citizens and manage negotiations between the two different/divided parts of the city through the building of commonly accepted institutions for a post-conflict context.
Housing the displaced
Displaced families and refugees, low-income families and persons living in disadvantaged areas have been the main target groups of most current governmental housing schemes. The division of the island in 1974 has led to a variety of atypical tenure categories, such as refugees’ estates, Turkish Cypriot housing, Greek Cypriot housing and self-help schemes aimed at refugees. New housing schemes have also been introduced for a wider range of target groups including large families, low-income families including recipients of public assistance, and persons with disabilities. The study tour will unfold the spatial displacement and mechanisms of re-housing of the Cypriot refugees and it will focus on the first encounters of the displaced Cypriots taking place after the opening of the check points in 2003, when they had the chance to visit their homes after almost 40 years. The tour will include among others, a visit to the European award winning housing scheme of Ayioi Anargyroi for Cypriot refugees.
Limassol study tour
Limassol, the second largest city in Cyprus, has been changing too rapidly during the past decades. The historic center and the adjacent waterfront, which were diachronically referential districts for the port city of Limassol, have been subjected to a changing population dynamic and have been undergoing a number of major simultaneous redevelopments leading to an uneven and fragmented expansion of the city’s urban form. The city rapidly grew after the island’s division, when almost half of the island’s population became refugees in need of a temporary place to stay. It has also attracted a large number of Lebanese who fled their country because of internal political unrest and the war with Israel. A similar phenomenon has been observed more recently with a flux of investors and EU residency seekers. The comparatively cosmopolitan character of the region is strengthened further by the large number of tourists and a high housing demand from pensioners mainly from northern countries. The value of Limassol as a case study is related to wider contemporary urban development issues around fast growth and multiple, concurrent housing developments.