The Famagusta Ecocity Project in 18 minutes at TedX Limassol
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.
This film will be following the story of this team as they rally support across the island and beyond for The Famagusta Ecocity Project. We will meet the Turkish-Cypriots who live in Famagusta today, hear what it has been like for them living next to this ghost city and what they would like to see done with it in the future. We will hear the memories and dreams of the Greek-Cypriot Famagusta refugee community as they hope and plan for their city’s impending revival. We will engage diplomats, business leaders, port workers, restaurant & hotel owners, soldiers, teachers, artists, and other Famagusta citizens from both sides of the divide in a dialogue about what a Famagusta ecocity could look like, recording their reactions, both positive and negative.
We will visit other locations around the world that have adopted sustainability in their town planning, while showing the way these principles can be adapted to the Cypriot climate as well as its environmental, political and economic conditions.
We will reveal the challenges of mending two communities who have remained divided while living a stone’s throw away from each other for the past thirty-eight years. (For safety and peace building reasons we will not put the “stone’s throw” claim to the test).
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.