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. More recently, economic challenges across Greece, including austerity measures that drove cuts to social services, have led to high unemployment in the city, averaging over 50% unemployment for young people. The city has made significant efforts to expand welfare services and provide critical relief to citizens—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 vulnerability in a country with the 6th highest seismic activity level in the world.

Athens also faces risks from ongoing environmental pressures. In recent years, heat waves 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, expected to start in 2015, that provides long-term risk management for climate shocks.

Resilience Challenges

  • Earthquake
  • Economic Shifts
  • Heat Wave
  • High Unemployment
  • Refugees
  • Riot or Civil Unrest

Meet The Chief Resilience Officer

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Eleni Myrivili comes to the position of Chief Resilient Officer as an elected Councilmember in the City of Athens currently holding the urban-sustainability portfolio, and has held elected leadership positions for several years in the Greek Green Party’s Executive Leadership Committee.

She got her PhD from Columbia University (N.Y., N.Y.) in socio-cultural anthropology. She is an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Cultural Technology and Communications, University of the Aegean, in Greece. Interested in the knowledge-society relationship, she has always been active in projects that go beyond the walls of the academy: designing multimedia museum exhibitions/applications, curating events/festivals, participating in civil society organizations. 

She has been an active member of environmental CSOs (IWAF, Friends of the Earth, Slow Food), and written/hosted a public television documentary series on sustainability. She was a member of EastboardNet (COST ESF), a Deputy Coordinator for an FP7 European research program, and a researcher for the Centre National d’ Art et de Culture George Pompidou, France.

Snapshot of Athens

  • 5,000,000

    Estimated Population as of 2013

Stories About Athens

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