A pocket park is born
The Vardaris neighbourhood welcomes a new common space
In the deprived district of Vardaris we inaugurated a small yet significant project, as part of the anniversary events for the 10 years of our office in Thessaloniki. It is a pocket park constructed on the pavement on Odysseos and Aphroditis Street, at the back of a supermarket where rubbish bins used to be located.
Apart from our Foundation, the Educational Platform for SSE (Social Solidarit Economy) // kalomathe.gr contributed to the creation of the park. However, the project was mainly implemented by the Vardaris Neighbourhood Group, which includes employees and members of the Self-Help Promotion Programme of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki - whose mission is to support and empower people with addiction problems and their relatives - as well as residents and friends of the area.
The park, a small meeting and resting place for residents and people who work and commute through Vardaris, features plants and wooden structures created in the Self-Help Promotion Programme site just across the street, and even includes houses and feeders for the neighborhood's stray cats. Beyond that, however, its great value lies mainly in the way it was designed and implemented, as it is an outstanding example of participation and community action. Specifically, the park was created through a series of participatory design workshops that highlighted the above concepts as well as the creative powers of the people of the area, implementing a useful and beautiful project by, with and for the neighbourhood itself.
And although the inauguration of a project usually marks its completion, the realization of this particular park is a work in progress, which will be (re)designed and co-constructed by the Vardaris Neighbourhood Group according to the rules and procedures set by the Group itself.