Famagusta Ecocity Project 2016 Teaser
The Famagusta Ecocity Project in 18 minutes at TedX Limassol
The Famagusta Ecocity Project: A brief summary
[If unfamiliar with the Cyprus Problem and the plight of Famagusta and Varosha, please visit our page “A Brief History” before reading below]
Any reopening of the 40-year old militarily occupied ghost town of Varosha, a district of historic Famaugsta on the Eastern coast of Cyprus, presents a unique opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the past and rebuild for a better future. Yet it comes with significant risks. Without careful planning, it could become just another unsustainable development in an already crowded Mediterranean tourism market, while cementing Famagusta as the second divided city in Cyprus.
Rebuilding Varosha in the context of a model ecopolis promotes peaceful coexistence amongst all of Famagusta’s inhabitants while embracing the latest ecocity technologies and turning Famagusta into a center for peace and sustainability within a troubled region. The project ultimately aims to turn all of Famagusta into Europe’s model Ecocity. This is a multi-track approach to environmental sustainability, economic prosperity and peace building. Those involved are local and international architects, permaculture designers, economists, business owners, urban planners, engineers, horticulturists, historians, artists, filmmakers, conflict mediation specialists and much more.
Our aim is to prepare the communities for the implementation of the Famagusta Ecocity into a thriving cultural, economic and environmental hub. This takes much planning a preparation ahead of time before the area opens up again to human habitation, and after 40 years of separation between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, the road is certainly a bumpy one.
In addition to completing an architectural design studio, which brings five sets of ecocity ideas to the communities, we are working on a documentary film that will both tell the story of the city and show why it is the perfect laboratory for an ecocity to be born.
2014 Funding Campaign Video
This film will be following the story of this mother/daughter-led team as they rally support across the island and beyond for The Famagusta Ecocity Project. Vasia Markides grew up in Maine, in the northeastern U.S., hearing stories from her mother, Emily Markides, about her lost city, now decaying behind barbed wires on the northeast coast of Cyprus. It was only in 2003 when Turkey loosened restrictions at the checkpoint when Vasia was able to see the ghost city herself, from across the fence. The grip it had on her from that moment forward was unrelenting, and Vasia devoted the next fourteen years of her young adult life to exposing Famagusta’s ghost town to the world. Her aim ultimately was to help Emily pursue her longtime dream of seeing Famagusta revived into a model of sustainability and reconciliation at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe.
Famagustians from both sides of the divide, come together, stirring momentum beyond their expectations on the island and beyond. Turkish-Cypriots who live in Famagusta today, explain what it has been like living next to this ghost city and what they would like to see done with it in the future. Greek-Cypriot Famagusta refugees share their own hopes and plans for the city’s impending return and revival. The team’s architectural design studio launch, led by MIT expert in sustainable city design, Jan Wampler, becomes the momentous event on the island that brings Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot specialists together to discuss the challenges and opportunities in creating a unified, bicommunal ecocity.
Historic peace negotiations now aim to reunite the island after 42 years. If this happens, Famagustians will be given the right to return home, and will confront what could be the largest reconstruction challenge the world has seen since the end of World War II.
The aim of the film is to see how the team prepares the ground in both communities to find the strength and resolve to crack a decades long conflict using a fresh idea like that presented in The Famagusta Ecocity Project. Whether the team fails or succeeds in its Cypriot mission, the documentary will still be able to provide a blueprint for other towns to use in preparing their own communities for a more stable and lasting future.