Monday, January 20, 2014

Sunday Globe Special: The $pirits of Cyprus

"Cyprus ghost town may get boost as ecological habitat; Project draws MIT expert, but hurdles remain" by Menelaos Hadjicostis |  Associated Press,  January 19, 2014

DERYNEIA, Cyprus — Time virtually stopped in 1974 for the Mediterranean tourist playground of Varosha. When Turkey invaded Cyprus in the wake of a coup by supporters of union with Greece, thousands of residents fled, and chain-link fences enclosed a glamorous resort that it is said once played host to Hollywood royalty like Elizabeth Taylor.

The town’s crumbling, war-scarred beachfront hotels have become an emblem of the country’s division between Turks and Greeks. In 40 years, few have set foot inside the town, which remains heavily guarded by the Turkish army and twists of barbed wire.

But that grim scene could present a rare opportunity. Massachusetts Institute of Technology architecture professor Jan Wampler calls it the greatest challenge of his career: he and a team of architects, urban planners, business leaders, and peace activists hope to rebuild an entire town to correct past errors and mold a sustainable, ecological habitat.

The grass-roots project — the brainchild of Greek Cypriot-American Vasia Markides — aims to transform the ghost town into a model eco-city, preserve local character, generate revenue for the debt-ridden country, and provide a forward-thinking example of planning in a drought-prone country plagued by overdevelopment….

But the cards may be stacked against them….

Is it the sour candy?

The project is ultimately an academic exercise. But….

Then why am I wasting time with it? 

Because it's in the Boston Sunday Globe?