Legal Reforms for Land Management in Support of the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece and Infrastructure after the Games
The 2004 Olympic Games provided land management in Greece with a major experience in reformed legal procedures and land policy principles. These refer to all general infrastructure improvements made for the Games, but particularly to the development of the new Olympic infrastructure which, in the post-Olympic era, was to be used for a variety of athletic, cultural, and trade activities. The permitting process for construction projects in Greece prior to the 2004 Olympic Games was a long and arduous process involving multiple agencies, contradictory requirements, and land-use regulations hampering the objectives of the Olympic Games. A comprehensive land-use regulation and procedural reform was enacted prior to the Games. As a result of that reform, and due to outstanding political cooperation and coordination in land-related activities and construction projects, Greece managed to organize one of the most successful Games in recent history. General infrastructure projects whose construction had been pending for several decades were finished on time, and most of the long-standing problems were dealt with successfully. Many of the regulatory and procedural reforms enacted specifically for the Olympic Games were adopted after the Games to facilitate the post-Olympic mixed-use operations of the Olympic infrastructure. Prior to the Games, “mixed land-uses” were not allowed in Greece, despite the efforts of previous governments to change this policy. Several Olympic installations (such as convention, athletic, and tourist) were planned for continuing operations with identical land use after the Olympics, which created an oversupply of certain infrastructure, while other land uses (such as thematic parks, academies for applied arts, and commercial use) important to the Attica region and to the other 2004 Olympic cities either were not planned at all or were included in the plans without specific scientific study. This paper reports on a systematic research of land management issues and legal reforms applicable for constructing and operating Olympic Games infrastructure. A comparison of the traditional procedures with the land development reforms put in place in Greece for the 2004 Olympic infrastructure shows that there are certain benefits to “event-led” development. We also researched the relevant legal reforms which were approved by the Hellenic Parliament for inclusion in the government action plan for sustainable future utilization of infrastructure built for Olympic Games. Based on the research done, suggestions are presented for the consideration by the planners of future Olympic Games.
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