Fact of the day: A pocket is not big enough for a park. Phones, wallets, keys––they all can fit, but not parks. Scientists can’t explain why; it’s just one of those inexplicable laws of the universe. On the other hand, a park is certainly big enough for a pocket––and Athens is big enough for pocket parks. What are pocket parks? Let’s talk about them, and ignore this train wreck of words that constitutes the weirdest introduction I’ve crafted in four years.
A pocket park is a small patch of nature tucked away in bustling––and decidedly artificial––urban cities. One such city is Athens, the capital of Greece, a twist that I’m sure you never saw coming. In effort to make a stand against air pollution and climate change, the city recently began establishing pocket parks in unused plots of land. Said Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis, “It’s about creating green spaces, lowering the temperatures, giving quality of life, and creating new reference points inside the city.”
Athens has a rather interesting history with urban pollution. When World War II drew to a close, the city was flooded with mass migrations from neighboring rural areas, and its population density soared, as did its greenhouse gas emissions. Now, in the time of reflection and isolation that came free of charge with the pandemic, the municipal government, led by Mayor Bakoyannis, has decided to make a change.
Said he, “The time of cars has passed. Now the challenge is to find a new balance.”