Principles of citizen participation in urban development in Athens

National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Photo by Lucretius – Skyscrapercity.com, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8007254

By Prof Ares Kalandides

In this blog article I explore the opportunities of creating an institutional framework for citizen participation in the new public company Athens Urban Renewal SA.

The consequences of eight years of austerity can be seen everywhere in Athens. The past years have left deep scars in the fabric of the Greek capital: unemployment and homelessness, poverty and public disinvestment, growing social rifts and street riots – paired with a threatening growth of extreme right-wing ideology permeating many aspects of public life (e.g. media, police, justice, church – even schools). At the same time, the number of tourists visiting the capital has risen exponentially, creating tensions in the housing market, as more and more flats turn into holiday rentals, making prices soar. While the art scene is flourishing, youth unemployment remains above 40%. Abandoned buildings and deteriorating public space on the one hand; AirBnBs, vibrant street life, cafés and entertainment venues on the other. I can’t remember Athens so fascinating and so depressing at the same time.

The Municipality of Athens has undertaken a series of measures to tackle those issues, including the renewal of central neighbourhoods and the rehabilitation of municipal buildings among others (s. Vaiou 2018 for a critical assessment of the reuse of the former municipal market). Additionally, a new public organization with the telling name of Athens Urban Renewal S.A. (Athens Anaplasis SA.) was founded, complementing the actions of the Municipality. I was asked by its President, Prof Nikos Belavilas, to join the advisory scientific committee of this new state agent, an invitation which I gladly accepted, as I see here the opportunity to institutionalize citizen participation in urban development. Continue reading “Principles of citizen participation in urban development in Athens”

Made in Cloister, Naples: urban regeneration with a twist

Made in Cloisterby Prof Ares Kalandides

When Rosa Alba Impronta, president of the Made in Cloister Foundation in Naples, Italy, talks about her dream for the future, she sees a large, financially independent, cultural centre, whose impact will be sensed outside its walls: it will resonate in the neighbourhood of Porta Capuana, where it is located, but also beyond that, in the whole city of Naples.

We spoke to Rosa Alba Impronta who will welcome us during the IPM Naples Study trip in May 2018*. Continue reading “Made in Cloister, Naples: urban regeneration with a twist”