Along the rocky path to formulating the much-heralded joint statement required to jump-start the Cyprus negotiations, small blooms appear.
An attempt is being made at grass roots level to document the ghost city of Maras/Varosha and to present new ideas for the rebuilding of the town in a spirit of healing and ‘green’ ideology. An idea which could serve as a template for any town which is in need of redevelopment.
The project, spearheaded by New York resident Vasia Markides an artist and film maker, whose family is Greek Cypriot, is to collect donations to realise an ambitious project which looks a how Maras could be reborn as an Eco city.
“”The Famagusta Ecocity Project’ aims to ultimately turn all of Famagusta into Europe’s model Ecocity. The project will be a multi-track approach to environmental sustainability, economic prosperity and peace building. Those involved will be local and international architects, perma-culture designers, economists, business owners, urban planners, horticulturists, engineers, artists, conflict mediation specialists and more,” says the project’s website.
The project involves collaboration with Turkish Cypriot psychologist Ceren Bogac who grew up right next to Maras, Fiona Mullen an economist who is based in the South and architect and film maker, Armando Garma-Fernandez.
The brief documentary introduction says that the building in the ghost city would need to be demolished, but envisages a new ‘ecopolis’.
Vasia and her team have $30,000 worth of pledges and are able to launch the project this month, where all participants meet for the first time.
More donations will help with all the expenses associated with the production, from videography and equipment to editing, website maintenance, transportation costs around the island and paying translators/transcribers.
Of course, Maras and its future will be part of the Cyprus negotiations (if they ever get off the ground). But whether there is a settlement or not, this small band of people have envisaged a new future for the Famagusta suburb.
Other links: BBC News Magazine