By whom and how are public spaces in the Greek cities shaped? If the production process of urban public spaces changes, can the image and experience of contemporary Athens be created from scratch?
The modern challenges of Athens invite us to think about, seek and process new ways of designing and creating public spaces and, at the same time, dream about and finally put into practice all the ideas that we ourselves would like to experience in a public space.
Within the framework of the project entitled as DOMAIN_AGORA, a prototype process of participatory planning is developed, based on civic participation and the creation of cross-sector partnerships in order to jointly make decisions concerning urban regeneration studies.
The aim of this project is to explore possible ways of urban revival that will introduce the city’s public spaces as an area of political and cultural creative expression. The place in which this project will be put into action is the Varvakeios Market (Athens Central Market), a degraded place in the city centre symbolising the complexity of modern urban issues, mainly due to strong social and economic diversities amongst the people taking ownership of the particular square.
During the implementation of DOMAIN_AGORA project, different people and stakeholders associated with the square -its residents, employees, visitors, representatives of the authorities, scientists and experts with knowledge upon relative disciplines- will be invited in order to interact with each other, create partnerships and jointly develop ideas and proposals on urban interventions. Designing these works aims at mutual learning and observation, the exchange of different ideas and the creation of trust bonds in order to jointly visualize and design the square.
The coordination team of DOMAIN_AGORA is planning to organise a series of workshops and events. It is also involved, in cooperation with scientific partners, with the review application of new methods and tools of urban design, the development of information applications, as well as with charting and representing technical data in a widely understood way.
The results deriving from the project’s action research are openly presented and available to the public after the workshops are completed. Both the joint creative study upon the regeneration of Varvakeios Market, as well as the conclusions drawn from the procedures’ processing and coding will be available in a way that will allow their future use and application in respective procedures. Groups and organisations dealing with matters of urban planning and the implementation of urban and political institutions will be able to use the results as a raw material for new studies and recommendations.
DOMAIN_AGORA is one of the ten projects of the ACTORS OF URBAN CHANGE network, supported by the Robert Bosch Foundation and the non-governmental organization MitOst. It is a network consisting of pilot projects on urban regeneration through civic engagement and cultural activities in different European countries and cities, while supporting its members via educational programs and exchange of expertise.