Athens, Greece
Athens is the capital of Greece. Since the 19th century, the economic base of the city was largely established around public administration and the service sector. Compared to other large western-European cities, industrialisation in Athens was relatively limited and focused on the production of consumer goods. Urbanisation in Athens is not the outcome of industrialisation, but it is linked to the specific political and economic conditions of the post-war period. During the first three post-war decades construction, tourism and other services including the public sector led the growth of the city.

Most of the current housing stock in Athens was mostly erected after WWII through a peculiar market mechanism, known as antiparochi. This entailed joint ventures between small landowners and builders (the latter used to get a share of the building at the end of the operation according to an initial agreement). (Maloutas et al., 2012). This housing system resulted in the replacement of low storey houses with high blocks of flats, so that the urbanising population could buy apartments at affordable prices. The high home ownership rate in Athens (51.3% in 2001) is attributed to the antiparochi system which remained dominant throughout most of the post-war period. In the condominium buildings of antiparochi, a pattern of vertical social differentiation was gradually formed. Wealthy, middle-aged households resided in apartments with pleasant vistas of the city in the upper floors of these buildings, while lower income households inhabited the lower floors and the basement (Maloutas and Karadimitriou, 2001). This vertical differentiation pattern is related to the deterioration of living standards in the centre of Athens that led to the ongoing suburbanisation of the middle social strata from the mid-1970s.

For the first time since post-WWII, Athens experienced a strong inflow of migration from the early 1990s, primarily from Eastern European countries. Since social housing is non-existent in Greece, immigrants sought shelter in the most affordable areas of the private rental sector. That is, in small, devalued apartments on the lower floors of antiparochi buildings, in the less affluent neighbourhoods of the city’s south-west. (Kandylis et al, 2012).

Akadimia Platonos, Kolonos, Sepolia, Metaxourgio and Gazi are the south-west, inner city areas in the city of Athens. These areas are related to the industrial history of the city and the settlement of less affluent households. They also host important archaeological sites such as Plato’s Academia and the graveyard of prominent politicians and ancient warriors (Dimosio Sima). Current renovation projects underlie the importance of the unification of such ancient sites, especially the Plato’s Academia park, with the rest of the archaeological spaces in the city centre.

The social profile of these areas is quite diverse, such as the ethnic background of its inhabitants. Although native Greeks represent the majority of the local population, people from Eastern Europe (mainly from Albania and Bulgaria) and Asia (mainly Bangladesh and Pakistan) also have a strong presence in the area.

The inhabitants of this area originate from lower-middle and lower social strata and constitute, at least in part, a relatively vulnerable population. Recently, cheap rent and the proximity to green spaces and archaeological sites have attracted households of more prosperous socioeconomic positions. Furthermore, land uses have become increasingly diverse as traditional shops exist alongside ethnic delicatessens and new sites of culture and entertainment.

District Images

Key Statistics

GREECE Greece Athens Case Study Areas*
Area (km2) 131 940 412 30.4
Total Population 10 934 097 756 652 64 155
Unemployment 27% (1) 27.9%
Home ownership 69% 51.33% 53.23%
Highest level of education completed Greece Athens Case Study Areas*
Primary education; Lower secondary education 39.2% 30.03 39.07%
High school 24.7% 32.71% 29.74%
Tertiary education 14.5% 23.37% 13.46%
Largest ethnic groups Greece Athens Case Study Areas*
Greek 93% 80% 80%
Albanian 4% 9.5% 9%
Bangladeshi .07% .5% .9%
Bulgarian .3% .8% .6%
Pakistan .1% .3% .83%
Poland .1% .1% .7%
Other Western (incl. EU-27) .99% 5.08% .34%
Other non-Western 1.44% 3.72% 7.56%
Total 100% 100% 100%
Age Groups

Athens 0-18

Athens 19-24

Athens 25-45

Athens 45-65

Athens 65+


Source: Helenic Statistical Authority, Census Population 2001

* Case study areas: Akadimia Platonos, Kolonos, Sepolia, Metaxourgio and Gazi
1. Data from 2011. Source:

Athens Reports

Urban Policies on Diversity

Critical analysis of existing urban policy programmes and discourses in the case study area. Includes overview of political systems and governance structures, key shifts in national discourses, and approaches to policy over migration, citizenship, and diversity.

Governance Arrangements and Initiatives

Analysis of local governance arrangements and initiatives in the case study area that target social cohesion, social mobility and economic performance.

Work Package 5 Initiatives

Fieldwork Inhabitants

Analysis of how urban diversity and policies and arrangements affect different population groups living in cities in terms of social cohesion and social mobility.

Fieldwork Entrepreneurs

Analysis of how urban diversity and policies and arrangements with respect to urban diversity affect different population groups living in cities in terms of economic performance and to clarify who (which social groups) profit and how they profit.

Athens News

Athens City Book


The City of Athens, the focus of this book, is a highly diverse city with a current population of approximately 664,000 inhabitants (the metropolitan area of Athens, however, is home to 3.8 million inhabitants). Athens
Athens exchange

On Exchange in Athens

Leipzig researcher Katharina Kullman is currently undertaking an Athens exchange and will be working with the EKKE team through to 21 December 2016. Katharina’s Athens exchange tasks include: elaborating on a perspective for institutional landscapes