Planet Local Examples
Greece, Claiming Community Spaces in Athens:
Ever since 2008, it has been widely reported that Greece is in complete economic collapse. But the Greek economic crisis has also provided the people of Athens with a rare opportunity to step outside of the global economy – to come together to revitalize communities, share resources and re-shape public spaces to serve their own needs, rather than the needs of big business and commerce.
As Helena Smith of the Guardian writes, “Public buildings – from abandoned municipal offices to theatres, market places and cafes – have been squatted and taken over. An unofficial support network has evolved with self-managed health clinics, collective kitchens, neighborhood assemblies, community groups and language schools mushrooming … At last count there were over 400.” Giorgos Kaminis, Athens’ progressive mayor, has even created a municipal post — Vice Mayor for Civil Society and Municipality Decentralisation — to help foster these kinds of community initiatives. Former documentary-maker Amalia Zepou, who currently holds the post, has created SynAthina, a platform for community projects, where citizens can “exchange information, find partners, and get in touch with city hall and potential sponsors.” Read more
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