Conference Paper

MATI: Necropolitics and coastal Development in Greece

Paper presentation in: Le Parlement Climatique/The Climate Parliament, organised by École Nationale Supérieure de Versailles, 24-25 January 2020. Platon Issaias.

Platon Issaias
Architecture, Climate Change, Ecology, Environment, Planning, Policy

At 16.41 on July 23, 2018, at a remote location of the peri-urban settlement of Penteli Mountain at the north east of Athens, Greece, a wildfire started. Extreme weather conditions – 40C and wind gusts of up to 80 miles per hour – spread the fire at an incredible speed, reaching the coastal summer house settlement of Mati, three kilometres on a straight line to the east, in less than an hour. At 18.15, the fire reached the beach; 1500 buildings were destroyed or severely damaged, and in total 101 people died. Inside their houses, their cars, on the streets, on the beach, in the sea; weeks later, on hospital beds. The Mati wildfire is – so far – the second deadliest of the 21st century. In its immediate aftermath, various assessments pointed out into potentially different causes. Apart from climate change and the particular weather conditions on the day, lack of civil protection and defence planning, as well as human error were presented and discussed as contributing factors. A criminal investigation was launched against a large number of ministers, mayors and civil servants. Data analysis and evidentiary forensics however suggest a more complex reality.

Telecommunications between key persons suggests that a decision was made at around 5.30pm that significantly altered the progress of the event. The planning of the settlement itself, the type of its architecture and materials, the species of its man-made vegetation, building irregularities, the privatisation and the restricted access to specific parts of the coast trapped hundreds with little chance to safely evacuate and escape the fire. It seems that Mati killed its residents, or more precisely, an array of political and design decisions that drove coastal developments in Greece since the 1950s were significant contributors to the devastating incident. Departing from the July 2018 Attica wildfires and the Mati massacre, the paper presents elements of this urban and architectural history. Private property, irregular and opportunistic planning, small scale building construction, but also tourism, are thought here in relation to climate injustice and the necropolitics of the social, economic and environmental crisis in the European and the Global South.

[link to the conference]


Fatura Collaborative – Research & Design Practice, was founded in 2009 and is developing projects across a wide range of scales, from intimate objects and performance, to architecture, urban design and planning. We are interested in architecture as social infrastructure, in developing collective equipments, in the design of spaces of care, empathy and welfare. We design and research expanding new problematics about ecology, the domestic, everyday life and the city.



is an architect, researcher and educator based in London. She holds a diploma in architecture from the School of Architecture of the University of Patras, Greece (2015) and was awarded a PhD from the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art (2022). Her thesis dealt with the materiality of grassroots, ad hoc and mutual aid projects by social movements in Europe and the United States, with an emphasis on their relationship with the state. She is teaching in undergraduate architectural design studios and history and theory courses at the London South Bank University and Central Saint Martins. She is also a registered architect in the UK (ARB) and Greece (TCG) and has practiced architecture in London, Madrid and Athens.


is an architect, researcher, and educator. He studied architecture in Thessaloniki, Greece, and holds an MSc from Columbia University and a PhD from TU Delft and The City as a Project research collective. He is Assistant Professor of Architectural Design at the School of Architecture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He is the co-Head of Projective Cities MPhil programme at the Architectural Association, where he is also teaching Diploma Unit 7 with Georgia Hablützel and Hamed Khosravi. His research interests explore urban design and architecture in relation to the politics of labour, economy, law and labour struggles. He has written and lectured extensively about Greek urbanisation and the politics of urban development.


(he/him) is an architect and educator. He serves as Curator, Heinz Architectural Center, at Carnegie
Museum of Art and Special Faculty at Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture. He studied
architecture in Athens, Greece, and holds a Master of Science in Architecture and Urbanism from the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research focuses on architecture at the intersection of
human rights, conflict, and the provision of shelter. This interest led to his PhD dissertation
“Architectures of the Humanitarian Front” (2021, Yale University), which examined a period
around WWI when conflict, displacement, and territorial insecurity provoked the reconfiguration
of humanitarian operations –their spatial organization and ethical imperatives.


is an architect based in Lund, Sweden. He graduated in 2010 from the School of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens and holds an MSc in Energy Efficient and Environmental Building Design from the School of Architecture of Lund University (2015). He has practiced architecture as a freelance architect in Greece and currently in Sweden (eg. Tengbom architects), where he works on a wide range of projects including small houses, larger residential complexes as well as care, educational and industrial facilities.


is an architect and an educator. She graduated in 2007 from the School of Architecture of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. She holds the MSc in Advanced Architectural Design from GSAPP, Columbia University (2008) and a PhD from the Architectural Association – School of Architecture, London (2016). She is currently an Assistant Professor of History and Theory of Architecture at the School of Architecture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She has previously taught at the Architectural Association and the University of Westminster and practiced as an architect in New York and Athens.


is an architect based in Thessaloniki. She graduated from the School of Architecture of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 2015 and holds an MSc in Environmental Architectural and Urban Design from the same institution (2023). Since 2017, she has been collaborating with a group of freelance engineers, working on a variety of residential, workspace, and small-scale digital fabrication projects. Her special interests lie in urban and architectural design practices that promote spatial justice.