We design our neighbourhood
Envisioning our city in a participatory way
In collaboration with the environmental organization Mamagea, whose mission is to upgrade the social and urban environment, we co-organized a participatory workshop, which aimed to capture the imagination of the residents - as well as of the visitors - of Thessaloniki about the city. The Garden of Music in Thessaloniki's Nea Paralia was filled with the creations of the participants, describing the collective vision of citizens for the changes they want to see in their neighbourhoods.
The process was very simple and resembled a game: At the beginning ice-braking exercises were carried out and then people were split into small groups. They were given a white piece of cardboard showing the boundaries of the urban area of Thessaloniki, which they were asked to fill with drawings, suggestions and interventions. Each group then briefly presented their work to the others. Some of the proposals were indicatively the following: more greenery, increase of public and vital spaces, regional tram in the neighbourhoods, accessible pavements, pedestrian zones, new squares, swimming in the Thermaic gulf.
Some interventions were quite realistic and feasible, others more daring and unfeasible (at least for the time being). In any case, the workshop aimed not only to formulate proposals for a sustainable future, which could at some point be taken into account by decision-makers, but also something else, perhaps even more important: to empower citizens and mobilize them to demand an improvement in the quality of life in cities.