South European Historic Cities

Historic neighbourhoods in European cities have been gentrified or separated from the everyday life of the contemporary city (e.g., they became either open air museums and tourist destination for sightseeing, short-term letting, or international real estate capital investment ’ghost’ towns), as a result of their strategic preservation from the authorities early on in the 80s and 90s.

However we see that in many south European and Mediterranean historic cities, the urban fabric is a mixture of new and old structures, wherein we identify many examples of culturally-valuable structures which have not been yet listed as protected heritage, as in many cases the authorities lack the policy instruments, or the necessary funds, to proceed with the conservation of these buildings.

The space of the historic city has been mostly studied, analysed, communicated and imagined by means of methodologies and tools sourced from the humanities, and traditional architectural drawing tools. Also, we notice that in many northern European cities, the historic core of the city is fully conserved, preserved, protected and documented already from before the so called digital revolution. These two conditions have arguably limited our capacity to leverage the power of digital tools, data analytics and complexity theory to monitor and understand the development of the cities in real-time.

Heritage buildings falling down due to human neglect, inability of local authorities to monitor their condition and environmental pressures, e.g., heavy rainfall in 2019 (Nicosia, Cyprus).
Sicily, Italy, 2019.
Abandoned patios in the historic centre of Cordoba, Spain, 2018.


Author: gartopoulos

Georgios holds a Master of Philosophy in Architecture and the Moving Image (University of Cambridge, UK, 2004) and a PhD, conducted at the Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge (2005-2010), with a Doctoral Award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK, where he assisted as Tutor and Research Assistant. Previously he was employed by the School of the Built Environment, Heriot-Watt University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Cambridge and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Giorgos has contributed in 12 International Research Programs and received the Best International Short Film award in Mestre Film Festival, Venice and his work was presented in the International Biennale of Contemporary Art, Czech National Gallery, Prague, the International Exhibition Computational Turn in Architecture, MAV, Marseille, the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2017, the Hong Kong and Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, the 11th and 12th Biennale of Young Creators of Europe, the 63rd Venice Film Festival, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, the Royal Institute of British Architects, London, the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle, the London Design Festival, London, the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Chicago, the ISEA 2006 and 2008, the British Council, Brussels, the Byzantine Museum, Athens, the Benakis Museum, Athens and in many International Film Festivals and art exhibitions.

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