Latent sprawl, divided Mediterranean landscapes: Urban growth, swimming pools, and the socio-spatial structure of Athens, Greece

Luca Salvati, Elena Ridolfi, David Saurí Pujol, Pere Serra Ruiz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2015 Taylor & Francis. Although Mediterranean cities have inherent differences on a local scale, together they offer a kaleidoscopic overview of distinctive morphologies and patterns of socio-spatial segregation. In this study, we explore the distribution of residential swimming pools as indicators of the use of land and water at the metropolitan scale, in relation to recent changes in the socio-spatial structure of a large Mediterranean city (Athens, Greece). Our results indicate a polarized spatial distribution of swimming pools, still considered a luxury affordable only for a minor segment of the Greek population. The analysis highlights the spatial linkages between concentration of residential pools, class segregation and low-density settlements, indicating that the socio-spatial structure of Athens remains characterized by persistent disparities between rich and poor neighborhoods. Comparison with another Mediterranean city (Barcelona) demonstrates the peculiarity of Athens recent development as reflected in the fragmented and polarized urban structure. The study provides an alternative reading of recent Mediterranean urban growth by considering pools as a "landmark" for urban sprawl, producing contested landscapes of localized social segregation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-312
JournalUrban Geography
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2016

Keywords

  • Athens
  • exploratory data analysis
  • Mediterranean city
  • regional disparities
  • urban structure

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