Q. What is the Famagusta Ecocity?
A. The Famagusta Ecocity is our vision for an integrated, sustainable, and environmentally responsible Famagusta that promotes peaceful coexistence amongst all of its inhabitants and embraces the latest environmental and urban technologies. In our vision, the Famagusta Ecocity will be a centre for peace and sustainability within a troubled region and a magnet for high-quality trade, commerce, tourism and investment.
Q: How will you put this vision into practice?
A. We will put this into practice through The Famagusta Ecocity Project, which has the following elements:
1) 15-21 January 2014: Design Studio: An architectural design studio run by the renowned MIT Professor Jan Wampler, with input from 15 of his own students, Cypriot students and Cypriot stakeholders from both communities, as well as specialists from other disciplines. The design studio will be hosted by the Famagusta Municipality Cultural Centre in Derynia, adjacent to the UN-monitored buffer zone overlooking the ghost city of Varosha. We also expect to be able to make use of additional workspace within the Walled City of Famagusta. The design studio will contribute to ongoing local dialogue on the vision for an integrated, post-settlement, Famagusta. It will offer outlines of ﬁve different proposals, which can be drawn on by the local stakeholders as guides in the future development of the city.
2) 15-25 January 2014 & Ongoing: Documentary: A ﬁlm that will document the design studio at work, workshops with stakeholders and specialists, interviews with current and former inhabitants of Famagusta, and inhabitants of eco-villages around the world, while also preparing the ground in both communities to ﬁnd the strength and resolve to crack a decades-long conﬂict using a fresh idea. Our aim is that the documentary can also provide a blueprint for other towns to use in preparing their own communities for a more stable and lasting future.
3) Spring presentation 2014: A conference in the spring of 2014 that will present the ideas of the design studio and what the next step of those ideas could be.
4) Ongoing: Online databank: A free and open online resource to serve as a repository of all prior publicly available research and studies on Famagusta, in order to enable present and future teams of specialists to draw on the best research and ideas to date.
5) Ongoing: Outreach: We are spearheading a local and international informational and educational campaign via individual meetings and a wide variety of media, including the documentary ﬁlm and social and traditional media.
6) May 2014: Publication: The plans drawn up by The Famagusta Ecocity Project, including the presentations of our Cypriot guest specialists during the week long session in January, will be included in a book published by MIT’s Jan Wampler at the end of the spring semester.
7) Ongoing: From vision to reality: Our aim is to showcase for public and private investors the feasibility of a successful reconstruction of Varosha and the wider Famagusta as a state of the art environmental showcase providing economic independence for both communities while acting as a magnet for sound investment and high-quality tourism, and peaceful co-existence.
Q. Will the ecocity be funded by taxpayers’ money? Isn’t that a luxury?
A. How to ﬁnance an integrated Famagusta Ecocity is one of the questions we shall examine during the design studio. Broadly speaking, we envisage a virtuous circle in which visionary ideas, solid planning and productive cooperation attracts not only private investors but also ofﬁcial sector E.U. funding as well as companies who want to showcase their latest eco-friendly technologies.
Q. Who is on your planning team?
A. Vasia Markides (ﬁlmmaker, Greek Cypriot ﬁlmmaker); Ceren Boğaç (Turkish Cypriot academic architect brought up facing Varosha); Armando Garma Fernandez (Architect, Animator & Filmmaker); George C. Lordos (Greek Cypriot economist and third-generation family business leader, born in Famagusta); Fiona Mullen (economist specializing in the Cyprus economy including post-settlement); Emily Markides (permaculture adjunct professor; Famagusta native; the vision’s originator). Other team members are listed at the end of this FAQ.
Q. How are you funding this?
A. Primarily through private donations. For the documentary, we raised $34,000 from our crowd-funded Kickstarter campaign, 10% of which goes to Kickstarter and Amazon fees. Documentaries that pay their staff regular salaries typically cost $300,000 – 1 million, so we are starting this on a shoestring and we are still campaigning for more funds. For the architectural design studio, we have raised $20,000 through private donations to cover travel, accommodation and costs on the ground. We have also received a pledge for a small donation from an EU-based NGO (non-governmental organization). This money will be used to cover costs such as equipment, travel, services, etc. All spending will be fully accounted for.
Q. I want to help. How can I donate?
A. Thank you! You can donate through our Donate tab at http://ecocityproject.com/famagusta/donate/
Q: Are you saying Varosha should be returned in advance of a settlement?
A. The Famagusta Ecocity Project is keen to ensure as wide support as possible support for the project from stakeholders in both communities. For that reason we are not taking a position either way on when Varosha should be returned. We are only preparing for what could happen if it is returned.
Q: Are you related to the Bicommunal Famagusta Initiative?
A. One of our core team members is also a core team member of The Bicommunal Famagusta Initiative (BFI) which is a separate organisation. We are grateful to BFI for providing us with information and logistical support. Owing to signiﬁcant overlap in the ultimate objectives and in the stakeholder-centric processes adopted by both organisations, the Famagusta Ecocity Project and the Bicommunal Famagusta Initiative are mutually supportive of each other’s efforts.
Q: Are you going to interfere with my property rights?
A. The design studio will proceed on the premise that property rights will be fully respected, and that no property owner will feel that they might eventually be forced to demolish their property as a result of designs made by someone else. We are only presenting ideas and information; we are not trying to impose a way of life on anyone.
Q: Are you forcing an outsider’s plan on us?
A. The Famagusta Ecocity Project has made a public commitment from the outset that no proposal will be put forward that does not carry widespread bicommunal support among the immediate stakeholders. Ultimately it is all about involving stakeholders and Cypriots in designing a well-planned integrated Famagusta. In the end, Cypriots will decide how that happens.
Q: Do you have political support for your project?
A. We’re constantly working on it, in close collaboration with the local grass-roots organisation “Bicommunal Famagusta Initiative”. As a result of this outreach to date, both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot municipalities of Famagusta have publicly expressed their support for citizen initiatives regarding the future revitalization of Famagusta. Government ofﬁcials in various departments and at various levels have also privately expressed their support and encouragement to the proposition that a vision for the reconstruction of Famagusta, garnering widespread bicommunal stakeholder support, ought to be in place in advance of a comprehensive settlement, as this would prepare the ground for a successful “Day After” and be a good omen for the implementation of any agreed political solution to the Cyprus problem.
Q: What media coverage have you had to date?
For any other questions contact us via our website at:
Our full team (alphabetically)
Bernard Amadei, Founder of Engineers without Borders, Professor of Engineering at the University of Colorado (Boulder)
Ceren Boğaç, Professor Architecture and Environmental Psychologist
Beran Djemal, Cyprus Community Media Center
Armando Garma Fernandez, Architect, Animator, Filmmaker, co-founder of Eleventown Productions and Ecotone CY
Michael Loizidis, Environmental & Chemical Engineer, Director, Founder of Akti & Isotech
George Lordos, Economist and third-generation family business leader
Emily Markides, Former Commonwealth Consultant; Peace, Sustainability & Permaculture Adjunct Professor at Maine University; Founder and President of nonproﬁt ESTIA The International EcoPeace Community
Vasia Markides, Filmmaker, Director/Producer, Artist, co-founder of Eleventown Productions and Ecotone CY
Fiona Mullen, Economist
Jan Wampler,Distinguished MIT Professor of Architecture, renowned designer of sustainable communities worldwide