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A look at our town eyesores

Published on 3rd June 2015

Dimitris Krentos Buildings thick in form but thin in character

Experiencing a townscape, which is conceptually consistent and reasonably maintained is something that most of us do when we visit foreign capitals. Tourists get to experience it again when they return home.

Our cities continue to be patchwork. Scattered, incoherent, incomplete constructions have manifestly mottled and mutated our otherwise decent looking country. We call for a policy that will allow the quality and aesthetic value of our built environment to reflect the natural beauty of the island.

An overarching concern is that we lack a modern architectural tradition from which to base any customary, legislative or administrative, town planning narrative. While our diverse history has provided us with a plethora of architectural styles we have not been engaging in meaningful knowledge management to optimize those resources.

The civic values in western European capitals, notwithstanding legislation, have allowed consistent standards and qualitative methods to be maintained. The idea that there is a common interest in keeping the built environment amenable to the general public is an intrinsic component of the western city. However, our cities are bi-polar, adversarial heaps of concrete.

The Association therefore calls for

  • Legislative reform, that would allow us to develop a coherent methodology in terms of knowledge management and town planning standards.
  • Managing Committees of jointly-owned buildings must draw clear-cut directions from the “Jointly-owned Buildings” law so they can act quickly and decisively.
  • The encouragement of a cultural shift towards greater civic responsibility, with greater value being placed on the built environment. A targeted media campaign and the inclusion of these values in the national curriculum would be ideal.
  • The management of buildings must be placed under the supervision of regulated professional companies with broad fiduciary duties keep common standards in check.

Written by: Demetris Krentos,  Architect,  Association for the Development of the Property Sector

 

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