By Margot Conrad and Torunn Kielland
This year the RUPS course visited Athens, Greece for the annual program trip. The primary purpose of the trip was to study the aftermath of the 2004 Olympic Games hosted by Athens. The subject matter has gained particular relevance as London recently won the Olympic bid for the year 2012. We had the privilege of meeting with some of the top academics, architects, planners and government officials involved in the planning process. Unfortunately, Andy could not join us and was greatly missed, but we were well taken care of by Yiannis Kaplanis (LSE Geography Department) and Thanos Pagonis (MSc RUPS 1997-8).
Our group attended a range of talks and presentations as well as tours of several Olympic sites. We were well informed about the history of planning in Athens and current trends through talks by professor and architect Thomas Doxiadis, Professor Dina Viaou, and professor and architect Aristidis Romanos and Dr. Yiannis Chorianopoulos. We also learned about the Olympic planning process and heard several different perspectives about the issue of Olympic legacy and the post game challenges that Athens now faces. LSE academic and Director of Olympic Properties, Dr Christos Hadjiemmanuil, architect and planner Thymio Papayannis (regeneration of the Athens' waterfront), and Head of Special Projects for the Ministry of the Environment, Ms Panayiota Kaperoni, gave us their point of views on these issues. Finally, we heard about the reunification of the archaeological sites from the director of the project, Ms Dora Galanis.
Despite our packed schedule we also found time to enjoy Greek food and drink and explore the Island of Hydra. We had plenty of good times together as a class, celebrated Tomomi's birthday and had many memorable moments. We would like to thank Thanos Pagonis, Yiannis Kaplanis, in particular, for being our guides, giving us a taste of authentic Greek culture and helping us to organize our trip.