With Limassol’s skyline rapidly changing with new buildings up to 37 floors high under development, the public is being given a chance today to discuss the implications of the changes.
The Scientific and Technical Chamber of Cyprus Limassol District Committee, the Department of Planning and Housing, the Limassol Municipality and the Cyprus Architects Association have organised a panel discussion on ‘Tall Buildings’. The aim is to inform and develop a policy dialogue around high-rise buildings and how they affect the city of the future. It is not simply a question of whether to allow the changes but a complex issue.
“Each city has to define itself and decide what they are for and against,” said architect Lora Nicolaou from Frederick University who is a presenter at the event. “In Limassol this has not been evaluated. This is a fundamental irreversible change and the town planners need to move carefully. There is an option now to scatter the building into the city or keep them in one area as the area between the old part of the town and the harbour has not been developed.”
“We are in favour of the tall buildings,” president of the Cyprus Architects Association Christos Christodoulou said. “We support them as architects because they create compact cities, especially if they are in the inner cities. But the issue is not black or white. The practical identity of the city plays a role. We need to discuss where they should be, for example. The relation between the city and the sea needs to be assessed.”
As a number of these buildings have either been finished, are under construction or awaiting permits it was high time there was a public debate, organiser Iannis Kakoullis from the Technical Chamber (ETEK) pointed out.
“This raises a lot of concerns and the public will be given the opportunity to participate in a discussion, which is not normally done in Cyprus,” he said. “One of the concerns is zoning. The official town planning needs to look into this. In other countries authorities have created zones, for example in London and Paris, but this has not been done in Cyprus.”
“A lot of them are situated at the seafront, which means they have a wonderful view, but what happens to the people behind who suddenly see only a big building in front of them? This is a big social change.” In addition, he said, as most of the new buildings are luxury developments they are likely to be occupied by foreigners and foreign investors are involved, another social concern.
A problem which has to be looked into as well is the infrastructure. “Do we have adequate suitable roads and public transport? Are we going to upgrade them? What are the consequences when we already have a problem with traffic?” Kakoullis added.
There is also the environmental aspect. According to the ETEK official, an essential strategic study has not been done and it is not clear if this type of development is sustainable.
At the meeting, people will be invited to give feedback on what their vision of the city is, something like Dubai for example, or a peaceful and quiet place.
There are also practical considerations such as fire safety and resistance to earthquakes to be talked about, and the fire service will also be present at the event.
The discussion will take place today, June 11, between 8.30am and 12.15pm at the Cultural Centre Panos Solomonides in Limassol.