The foundation of the Neohellenic state in the nineteenth century involved an intensive modernization program. The establishment of a new network of settlements and the reconstruction of cities was placed at the heart of modernization policies undertaken for over three-quarters of the century. In this context, city form acquired a crucial importance: it served practical and functional purposes as well as aesthetic and ideological ones. Not only was production and economic activity to be stimulated, a national identity had to be emphasized and ideals of citizenship had to be promoted among Greece's inhabitants. Urban modernization, placing the accent on the formal aspects of the city, seems to have served a threefold purpose for Greece at that time: it ensured a link with the West; it consolidated the transition to an urban society by effacing all traces of an embarrassing past—reminders of foreign rule, ethnic and religious oppression, and social and economic backwardness; and it restored the nation's historical continuity by connecting the modern kingdom with the ancient world. From the ambitious early designs to the utilitarian and unadorned grid plans produced after 1880 for dozens of small and large towns, one can trace an insistent dedication to this aim.


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pp. 99-123
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