Towards The Athens We Need - an Urban Thinkers Campus in Greece

Towards The Athens We Need - an Urban Thinkers Campus in Greece

Implemented by Organization Earth, in collaboration with Design4Future and Aephoria, The Athens We Need is a pilot project that took place in the Kerameikos neighbourhood in Athens. 

The idea was to start taking practical steps towards following the New Urban Agenda by starting with our own organization’s physical location and neighbourhood as an example of transformation.

Greece has witnessed a stormy past few years that had large consequences to Athens’s urban fabric, including Organization Earth’s neighbourhood.

Kerameikos means “potters” in Greek. It was the potters’ quarter in ancient Athens, located on the edge of the ancient city walls, northwest the Acropolis, where the Parthenon presides. The area also is home to, an ancient historic cemetery. The area is surrounded by historic sites, museums, metro stations, cafes, bars and abandoned sites of great importance to the people of Athens. It’s a busy area that represents what it means to be athenian. Now this area, with its unique radial mapping, is deteriorating with an abundance of empty pockets and a massive need for attention and rehabilitation. 

The Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC): The Athens We Need, is more than just an event. Our aim is to create an open space for dialogue and communication to share a vision for the future of Athens as the biggest urban centre of Greece. Our goal is to explore solutions to the challenges faced by residents and businesses of Kerameikos.

In order to reach our goals, our research used multiple approaches, including the collection of qualitative data from interviews and field research, as well as analysis of a corpus of documents and reports.  The field research included visits to local areas and the neighbourhood. Interviews with the residents (local and migrants), were representative of schools, local organizations and enterprises and were semi-structured. 

From what emerged, we have focused the design phase and work on the following axes:

  • the Community: we collected the challenges and needs that the residents and the entrepreneurs face on a daily basis as well as their desires for the area;
  • the Environment: we documented the strategic objectives of the municipalities and other actors in the field of sustainability development of cities and the actions taken in the Kerameikos order to see how they can interconnect;
  • the Activities of the event: we built the activities that will take place during the event promoting their collective nature and intervention with different tools.

We strongly believe that by connecting local members of the communities (residents, organizations, bodies, etc.); and by providing them with the right tools and space to function collectively, they will be able to design solutions for a sustainable city, which will then be directly applicable to Athens. 

For this reason during the three days of the Urban Thinkers Campus: The Athens We Need, lectures and workshops will take place, aimed to inspire and inform the local community about the contemporary urban challenges and inspire debate on the possible ways of dealing with them collectively, as well as propose new collaborative projects and creative ways of working together.


Article by Organization Earth
Photo Credits: Organization Earth / CC0 Creative Commons