The Man and his Work

Delos Symposia

Delos Symposion (1963-1975)

The Delos Symposia, organized by the Athens Technological Institute and the Athens Center of Ekistics, have been the realization of a long-lasting personal determination of C. A. Doxiadis to bring together a small gathering of experts, coming from different countries, cultures and disciplines and give them the opportunity to exchange views on the problems and the future of human settlements.

First Delos Symposion, July 1963


E. Bacon, J. Tyrwhitt and C. A Doxiadis, Delos Symposion 1963


Closing session at the ancient theater of Delos, Delos Symposion 1963

Architects, civil engineers, planners, historians, geographers, social scientists, economists, anthropologists, biologists, mathematicians, psychologists, artists, philosophers, and politicians participated in the twelve Delos Symposia, held between 1963 and 1975, during the month of July. Edmund Bacon, Walter Christaller, Karl Deutsch, Theodosius Dobzhansky, Rene Dubos, Leonard J. Duhl, Samuel Eilenberg, Erik Erikson, Buckminster Fuller, Siegfrid Giedion, Jean Gottmann, Charles Haar, Suzanne Keller, Arthur Koestler, Richard Llewelyn-Davies, Margaret Mead, Sir Robert Matthew, Marshall McLuhan, Robert Merton, Amos Rapoport, Jonas Salk, Kenzo Tange, Arnold Toynbee, Jaqueline Tyrwhitt, C. H. Waddington, Barbara Ward are only a few of the Delos Symposia participants.

The discussions of the Symposia took place on board a ship that traveled around the Aegean and stopped at various ports, mainly islands. Each Symposium concluded with a celebratory gathering at the Ancient Theater of Delos, with the reading and signing of the Declaration of Delos.

Session on board,
Delos Symposion 1964


B. Fuller and K. Tange,
Delos Symposion 1966

S. Giedion, Delos Symposion 1963

The main themes of the first ten Delos Symposia have been:

1963 – The present crisis in human settlements
1964 – A framework for a new discipline of human settlements
1965 – Problems of living at high density
1966 – Nature and human settlements
1967 – Strategy for the development of human settlements
1968 – Man and his settlements
1969 – Society and human settlements
1970 – Networks and human settlements
1971 - Our buildings (shells) and human settlements
1972 - Synthesis of all issues discussed in previous symposia and specific proposals addressed to national and local governments and authorities

The last two Delos Symposia of 1974 and 1975, that took place at the Athens Center of Ekistics and the Apollonion settlement at Porto Rafti, had the same theme: "Action for Human Settlements".

The 1974 Delos Symposion set global goals for inclusion in a Statute of Human Settlements that could be formulated and proclaimed at the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat I, Vancouver, Canada, May - June 1976), such as the right to housing, freedom, dignity, the need to develop a scientific approach to solving the problems of human settlements and the need to develop a common vocabulary that will facilitate communication, the need to create an organization at the UN or an important UN program for human settlements.

Cover of Ekistics (v.38, no.229, December 1974)
dedicated to the 11th Delos Symposion

The 1975 Delos Symposion, that took place two weeks after Doxiadis’ death, was specifically dealing with the four books he prepared for the first UN Habitat -Anthropopolis: city for human development (1974), Ecumenopolis: the inevitable city of the future (1974), Building Entopia (1975), Action for human settlements (1976).





Extended reports on each Delos Symposion were published in Ekistics journal. Numerous relevant documents (papers, reports, correspondence, schedules of the meetings, press releases, articles, photographs, sound recordings, films) are kept in the Constantinos A. Doxiadis Archives and are accessible to researchers.