Amongst the undulating hills of Athens, Lycabettus Hill stands out as the highest peak. Seen from almost anywhere in the city, the hill occupies a pivotal position in the urban imaginary of Athenians. The massive public green space is used by residents and tourists alike who are looking to escape the hustle of the city. The sheer size, diversity, and unique history of the hill allow for a wide range of use and enjoyment. Tourists arrive at the top via funicular to take in unobstructed views of the Acropolis and stay for a coffee at the hilltop cafe. Residents use the hill for recreational activities, including hiking, bird-watching, and dog-walking. Lycabettus Hill also has significant cultural value given its two churches - popular sites for baptisms, and more recently, weddings. The peak of the hill used to hold summer festivals and concerts in a now-decommissioned amphitheatre - a site that remains a focal point in Athenians’ connection to the hill.
While the hill is celebrated in Athens, there is also a recognized gap in realizing its full potential as a central public green space in the city. It is not designed or maintained to its fullest, with eroding pathways, transportation challenges, environmental degradation, and safety concerns. The city recognizes the opportunity the site provides to address a number of resilience challenges, including urban heat island mitigation, stormwater mitigation, urban greening, and the creation of a collaborative management structure for public green spaces.
Rebuild is working in partnership with the City of Athens, 100 Resilient Cities, and four universities - The Technical University of Athens, The Agricultural University of Athens, The Interdisciplinary Program for Monuments, Archeology, and Architecture, and New Jersey’s Institute of Technology - to develop a participatory process that will lead to a master plan and long-term stewardship of the site. The Rebuild by Design process will result in a deeper understanding of the physical and social possibilities, identify short term projects the city can do to activate certain spaces, and create a collaborative management structure for the Hill, all while enhancing its environmental and recreation capacity.