URBAN INFLUENCES OF GREECE
During the city’s Golden Age in 480 BC, the layout of ancient Athens became the model of modern urban planning. In return, this had a significant impact on architecture, building technologies and the organisation of cities everywhere. Thus, if it is forgotten today the impact the Greeks had on dynamic trade centres positioned at the crossroad of civilisations, still lives on in architecture. This is because carrying out an exhaustive building manifesto in conquered cities was a powerful endorsement of Greek domination. Hence, cities were designed on a grid layout with public baths, temples, theatres, recreational stadiums, an agora with porticos and most of all the essentials contributing to a civilised Greek city. In a way, reshaping the skyline and altering the architectural landscape of places the Greeks occupied, was a seal of their superiority. But the Greeks’ focus quickly shifted from building great monuments to advancing the lives of people, and bettering living standards in both residential and commercial areas. It was more effective in spreading democratic values through the artery of the Greek Empire.
Almost everywhere, the Greek urban blueprint came with a grid symmetrical city, enclosing a central agora. As a place of importance, housing a marketplace and a political assembly, this vital social public space became the pivot around which the entire town revolved. It had a covered portico or stoa, with columns lining the sides to protect people from the unpredictable weather. The Greeks also built a lot of other structures such as temples, theatres, gymnasiums and public baths. Houses were very simple, following on the design of the earlier courtyard principles. Nonetheless, each was connected to the city’s water supply. Ancient Greece was among the first to build an advanced water and sewage network, with techniques adopted from the early Persian civilisation. As its cities began to expand, the well-being of citizens became a priority, and Greek engineers were asked to develop a water infrastructure with pipes bringing clean water in, and pipes carrying waste out. This innovative sanitation was installed using shallow trenches that criss-crossed the metropolis and used to carry fresh water from the high mountain springs. Armed, therefore, with an urban abstract the Greeks took their city models to the very edge of their empire.