Corfu Urban Strategies [2011-2012]


Corfu Urban Strategies [2011-2012 ETH MAS in Housing ]

[ETH diploma project,  MAS in Housing]


Starting point


The Old town of Corfu is located in a stretegic position at the entrance of the Adriatic sea. Recently, in 2007, it became a World Heritage Monument of UNESCO. The mainly neoclassical housing stock of the old town is partly from the Venitian period, partly of the English period, partly of later construction, notably at the 19th century. As a fortified Mediterranean port, Corfu’s urban anf port esemble is notable for its high level of integrity and authenticity. Tourism which is the main factor of the island’s economy is based on the architectural and cultural identity. Within the last years it has been paid attention from the state and the responsible authorities to the privileged commercial streets around  french- built block of flats Liston, and the main square Spianada so that the heart of the historical building stock remains morphologically and functionally to its original appearance which contains many issues such as luck of viable space, built density and narrow streets.

There is a particular Neighborhood which its urban design is a mix of the old tissue and the 50’s urban plan, due to the wrong efforts of the state in the middle of the 20th century, to create an urban plan in this area, which however was unsuccesful and unfinished. The consequences of the mixing are obvious for the inhabitans and the visitors. These problems have arisen by these factors: 1. During the second world war bombings have left the buildings dilapidated and destroyed so that they must have been reconstructed. 2.The city plan of 1958:This was a project of the state in cooperation with the local authorities . The plan was to destroy the old houses and to create new streets and buildings , crossing the old town, within the context of the greek mentality of the 50’s and 60’s. This plan was incomplete and large gaps were created in the urban fabric due to its semi-implementation which have no use. After some years this project was totally rejected. Nowadays problems that have arisen due to this semi-impementation have arisen: -Character of a deprived neighborhood -Irregular urban planning -Bad conditions of living for families of low income -Luck of infrastructure. As the human needs and the household composition has changed, we have to introduce «modernity» and contemporary design solutions in the historical center without destroying its unique identity.





History • Spatial developemt • Introvert Character• Venetian Urban Fabric • English buidling stock• UNESCO• Balance between the preservation and the development of the city


Economy• Based on turism• big proportion of unemployment • Low income of inhabitants

Society• Family oriented model • Reriprocity• Supporting relations


Space• Urban system linked with the city.• Urban unit:heterogeneous character, mixed uses


  • Division of the area in parts

  • Complexity of the ownership

  • Public space:synthesis os

    streets and plateaus, divides in three areas, housing commerce and deprived units.

  • Elements: streets, squares, plateaus

  • Lack of infrastructure


Research questions


1. What kind of architectural and urban interventions cab be occured in order to improve the living quality of old town of Corfu within the context of protection of UNESCO? 2. Which is the most efficient way so as to create a strategy that will force the inhabitants to maintain their architectural heritage and to care about their common public space?

Hypothesis 1. The revitalization of the neighborhood will occure within the strategy for the development of the public space.




Assuming that the human needs have changed and that the building complexes in the old town of Corfu are defined by a dense urban design without outdoor facilities, we must find new sabtle design solutions to emphasize the micro and personal initiative within the framewok of cultural preservation and restoration.




To find the most efficient urban design solutions so that the revitalizing of the historical center will be possible within the context of UNESCO, while maintaining the authenticity ant the integnity of the old town in coherence with its present territorial dimensions




The  strategy is based on the equilibrium between the promotion of the historical heritage and the increasing of the living quality of the inhabitants. The concept of the strategy is the improvement of the public space into phases. In the long-term strategy, the upgrating of the urban, economical and social features. In the short term strategy the phocus is based on the site- design level which will work as a guide for the careful renewal of the rest of the views show that among the elements determining quality of life the following empty plots. The spatial values of the urban tissue play inportant role in order to complete the strategy: The compactness of the city, the complexity of the urban tissue and the variety of the public space.