|Re-building the future:|
C. A. Doxiadis and the Greek reconstruction effort (1945-1950)
|Andreas Kakridis (Panteion University) |
Kostas Kostis (University of Athens and Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales)
Amidst a time of mounting political tensions, general economic disarticulation and striking poverty, C. A. Doxiadis emerged as an expert problem-solver, a gifted planner, and a beacon of technocratic efficiency amongst a sea of administrative ineptitude. Only a few weeks after the Nazi withdrawal from Athens, the young architect and chief supervisor of the Office of Town Planning Studies and Research impressed everyone by launching a detailed statistical exhibition of Greece's war-time destructions, complete with thorough maps and photographs. One year later, and after having participated in the charter session of the United Nations, Doxiadis would return to Greece and take charge of the country's reconstruction effort. Whether as deputy minister or as director general for reconstruction, Doxiadis would spend the next five years setting out, supervising and implementing Greece's post-war reconstruction plan, including efforts to provide shelter to the thousands of internally displaced civil-war victims that flocked to the cities after 1947.|
Alongside this formidable administrative track record, which testifies to Doxiadis's exceptional managerial skills, came an impressive amount of research carried out under his supervision. Within the span of a few years, the Ministry of Reconstruction produced more than 30 different research monographs, on such diverse issues as rural housing, urban design, economic development and administrative reform. At the same time, Doxiadis remained an active participant in the public debate on the country's future outlook, producing a steady stream of newspaper articles, speeches, interviews and even a novel - all aimed at conveying his vision of post-war reconstruction and development.
It is this very vision that we seek to convey in our paper, placing Doxiadis's thesis in its historical context and contrasting it to the work of contemporary authors who have traditionally received far greater attention in academic discourse, particularly amongst historians. Leaning heavily on Doxiadis's own writings - as diligently compiled by the Doxiadis Archives - as well as on the key publications produced by the Ministry of Reconstruction, this paper will focus on his efforts to analyze the post-war economic situation and suggest ways of overcoming the reconstruction problems posed. Particular attention will be paid to his blueprint for the "Survival of the Greek People", which be compared with similar plans promoted by the Left in the same period. It is in this context that Doxiadis's concept of Ekistics emerged as a way of combining reconstruction with radical changes in urban and rural environment and creating the appropriate conditions for human development.