Political effects on urban landscapes: A case study of ‘urbanix’ in Drama, Greece

Georgiadou, Konstantina
(2019) Political effects on urban landscapes: A case study of ‘urbanix’ in Drama, Greece. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Liverpool.

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This research investigates the urban development of the city of Drama, Greece, as a result of the political changes that took place in the first decades of the twentieth century. Specifically, it follows the urban transformation caused by its annexation from the Ottoman Empire to Greece and the vast-scale population transfer formalised through the Lausanne Treaty in 1923. The aim of this study is to explore the effects of political and ideological shifts - wars, regime changes, formation of new states or division of countries/empires - on the built environment. These inflict changes to urban continuity, architecture and cultural topographies. The study builds upon the concept of urbicide, which describes violent urban destructions and cultural cleansing, and aims to extend it to non-conflict urban scenarios. For this purpose, the concept of urbanix is introduced and its cultural manifestations are explored in the case study of Drama. The city and its components are treated as depositories of urban memory and, so, a palimpsestic reading is employed, in an attempt to investigate the traces of the contested past of Drama in its urban form. Population exchange will be examined as producing disrupted topographies for the departing populations, associated with cultural cleansing. The research interrogates: a. how the urban environment is affected by political conditions; b. how is urbanix manifested in contested countries in relation to religious, ethnic and cultural cleansing; and finally, c. which mechanisms of urban manipulation are employed as a means of nation-building and history rewriting by the ruling regime. During this period, the Greek urban environments were used as tools of nation building and cultural identity formation. The creation of the country and the establishment of its national borders sparked a venture of Hellenisation of its territories. The arrival of Christian refugees and the expulsion of Muslims reinforced the ethnic homogeneity, while the need for rehabilitation triggered drastic urbanisation processes. The Ottoman architectural and urban tradition all over Greece suffered change, neglect, abandonment and destruction, as they embodied a pluralistic cultural identity that needed to be disassociated from the present and future of the country. The case study of Drama is looked at both from the urban and building scale, the analysis of which highlights typological approaches as expressions of rejection or re-appropriation urbanix categories. The former is clearly evident in the disruption of the urban form and development, through the imposition of a new urban plan in 1930. Finally, the Ottoman buildings were either demolished, abandoned or majorly intervened upon to serve the new national identity and reflect the re-established urban homogeneity of this region.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy)
Uncontrolled Keywords: architecture, urban development, cultural cleansing, urbicide, urbanix, contested space, Hellenisation, Ottoman architecture
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of the Arts
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2019 13:19
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 00:39
DOI: 10.17638/03046718
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3046718