Theodoros Skylakakis, the Minister of Environment and Energy, warns of the unsustainable urban development in large Greek cities during a discussion with

“Cities need more greenery, achieved through smaller building footprints and taller structures. We’ve essentially built cement jungles,” he emphasizes, highlighting the threat of rising temperatures and more frequent heat waves.

The Ministry of Environment and Energy is reportedly exploring regulations to incentivize the demolition of old apartment buildings in densely populated areas. The proposed plan involves replacing them with taller, smaller-footprint structures, creating open communal spaces for citizens and green pockets within the urban landscape. Similar strategies might be applied to urban planning in new areas.

Additionally, the ministry prioritizes the demolition of unauthorized constructions, aligning with forthcoming regulations set for public consultation. These rules mandate the immediate demolition of all new unauthorized constructions erected after January 1, 2024.

Prior to the cessation of the legalization process in autumn 2020, 552,293 unauthorized constructions categorized as “Category 5” (which includes buildings with significant urban planning violations or entirely unauthorized constructions) were declared. This category encompasses buildings with significant urban planning violations or entirely unauthorized constructions. However, the true extent of unreported buildings with similar violations remains unknown.

Pressure mounts on the ministry from citizens and municipalities, which own numerous “Category 5” structures, including schools and sports facilities. The inability to regularize these buildings impedes their access to funding from EU Structural and Investment Funds or the Recovery Fund, exacerbating utilization challenges.