Ohi Pezoume Performing Arts
12o Gymnasium of Acharnon
Associatιon of Residents of the Olympic Village
For mentioned partners we have guaranteed their implication & collaboration in the project (letters of intent available). Further partners will include Municipality, other local groups, schools, etc
In a civic desert, can water be a solution?
The Olympic Village is a neglected social housing neighbourhood in Greece, situated outside the urban fabric of Attica, used post-Olympics as a settlement of a population with different demographic, socioeconomic and cultural characteristics still facing numerous challenges.
But,a secret treasure lies underneath: the Hadrianic Aqueduct. Can it become a unifying element to re-imagine and co-design public space according to residents’ desires & needs?
“Olympic Village” - Social Housing Neighbourhood, Acharnes, Greece
-Lack of Social Cohesion: Heterogenous population, with a mix of social strata and ethnic groups involving a broad range of ethnic and cultural identities (Roma people, Greek origin groups repatriated from the former Soviet Union and Albania, immigrants from different Balkan countries, Asia and the former Soviet Union).
-Voter apathy about the place: Social Housing beneficiaries who moved at the village after the 2004 Athens Olympic Games never moved their voting rights there, in disappointment of municipal neglect.Its vast “green zone” is now a neglected and deserted public space.
-Lack of social ties with the rest of the municipality: It is a civic desert, a social housing neighbourhood at the foot of a mountain, historically neglected by one of the poorest municipalities in Greece.
It is a program of workshops for the participatory design of the “green zone” (13 ha) into a cultural/environmental/touristic/educational sustainable destination. This process is centered around the “Hadrian Aqueduct”,a Roman still operational aqueduct that runs underneath the green zone. Raising awareness about it as a potential source of water and culture/tourism, we use it as an entry point for citizens to learn to collaboratively design their public space and produce activities. Both the collaborative-process skills to be learned and the workshop outcomes and activities will increase pride of place, sense of belonging and cohesion. The project will connect locals among themselves, with communities in other neighbourhoods (where the aqueduct runs) and with experts.
The project will reach about 8500 adult residents, but also younger generations (aged 11-18). We will deploy our facilitation, information sharing and collaborative design techniques to encourage communication between people of varying ages, cultural identities and attitudes on citizenship. We will bring together “opposing” groups: those who, feeling neglected by the municipality, don’t move their voting rights here, with representatives of the municipality, citizens that activate the green zone with those who let it deteriorate.. We will also provide capacity building around place-making and collaboration for 3 groups of the Olympic Village (Assoc. of Residents, Women’s Group, Youth Group counting 60 members) and civic education for the area’s 4 public schools.
We propose a 20-week long program of open workshops and activities in public space and in the premises of our local collaborators. The program will include:
-15 workshops for the green zone’s participatory design exploiting the cultural/water resource underneath it. Topics include: Introduction to the space, capacity building on civic engagement, participatory design skills, co-design process, community building.
-The workshops build on tested structures using dialogue, participatory design, game and even performative techniques.
-A manual & a website will be produced for exchange with other neighborhoods along the 20km line of the Aqueduct, in which we plan to expand our activities.
-Interim & final deliverables will be presented or piloted through 3 wider public space activities.
1. Residents will become place-makers of their public space through a democratic process.
2. The green zone will become the heart of the neighborhood hosting some of the process & piloted results.
3. Residents and municipality will get closer as stakeholders in this participatory design process.
4. The creation of a stronger community: Key public stakeholders (mentioned above) will enter the process, the 3 community groups of the area will finally share a common agenda and skills about pubic space.
5. Individuals who don’t belong in existing community groups and those who form a cultural minority will have a voice.
6. The number of residents engaged in matters of public space will increase.
7. Voter apathy will be reversed, engaged residents will move their rights to Acharnes.
The idea is based on the principle that cultural heritage should be understood as a common asset, and has a great role to play on a space and place as social imaginary and as practice. Taking into consideration the CoE Faro Convention (2005) on the value of Cultural Heritage in Society, we understand and want to further explore the potential of heritage “as a reflection and expression of […] constantly evolving values, beliefs, knowledge and traditions” that includes “all aspects of the environment resulting from the interaction between people and places through time”. Though our work in the Olympic Village and the Hadrian Aqueduct we want to inspire other communities in Europe to rethink their local assets and sustainable approaches for civic organization around them.
The project is part of a wider vision of our group to explore the structure and dynamics of Hadrian Aqueduct, an underground tunnel that connects areas of Attica region as asynchronous as Kolonaki (Athens city center) and the Olympic Village. At a time where active citizenship is not for granted, an ancient monument could enable interaction and proximity. The goal is to creatively engage communities across the Aqueduct to build partnerships within and beyond their own boundaries, so that interaction can be achieved, common demands can arise and a Hadrian Neighborhood network can be formed. The Olympic Village is the starting point of the Aqueduct and the challenges that residents face there are substantial, therefore it makes sense for us to deepen our work in the area.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Production costs for 15 day workshops and 3 public space interventions (equipment, constructions, services, materials): 10.760 EUR
Communication and community engagement (including project website and production of manual): 6.280
Expert fees for facilitation of workshops, coordination of activities, monitoring and content creation for manual: 19.360
Project management: 3.600
How can the cooperation with local authorities be sustained if there are changes in governance?
Can such a projects be scalable and tested in other regions/ areas/ cities? How can we promote it so that it can be transferred and tested in a different language and sociocultural context?