VOL: 11 NO: 1  59-75  2014-1


Urban geographies of vulnerability and resilience in the economic crisis era – the case of Athens




Harokopion University of Athens, Department of Geography, 70, El. Venizelou Str., Athens 17671, GREECE


Received: June 2013     Final Acceptance: November 2013






Government debt crisis and recession in Greece cause social, economic and demographic changes that increase human and social vulnerability to natural and climate change hazards, also to “forgotten” but re-emerging social risks (e.g. poverty, malnutrition, homelessness). Human and social vulnerability heightens further due to increase of the institutional, i.e. declining capacity of institutions to respond effectively to stressors. Resilience and adaptations that are performed as deliberate or uncontrolled reaction to increasing vulnerability result in vulnerability redistribution which only rarely turns to the benefit of the most vulnerable. Frequently, resilience performances become accountable for the emergence of new hazards and exposure as well as unfair vulnerability transference.

The present paper deals with the city of Athens and attempts to: (1) reveal the enhanced spectrum of risks, forms of exposure, and vulnerability in the city as a result of the crisis; (2) elevate the multiplying effect of the crisis on human and social vulnerability; (3) map the stressor-independent part of social-human vulnerability in Athens and (4) elevate adaptation/resilience resulting in vulnerability (re)allocation in time and space. Except of the theoretical background the paper turns to advantage geo-statistical data, findings of social survey studies and information being available by electronic and print media.


Keywords: Social, human and institutional vulnerability, resilience to risk, economic crisis, Athens, chronic social risk.

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