Resiliency in Athens

Challenges to Resiliency in Athens:

The resilience strategy for the City of Athens has four pillars: open city, green city, proactive city, and vibrant city. Open city aims to address government transparency and accountability, to achieve effective and efficient governance, and manage to communicate and collaborate better with its residents by fostering data driven policy making and accountability. Green city aims to incorporate natural systems into the urban fabric, with the goals of being able to withstand climate change and environmental challenges, fostering sustainable food systems and establishing a sustainable and equitable energy system. Proactive city aims to streamline the city’s ‘survival’ skills to enhance planning in the face of serious challenges through planning and communication and empowering municipal representatives and local community and neighborhood members. Vibrant city aims to nurture and develop assets to promote well-being creativity, and entrepreneurship. Challenges to achieving these four pillars of resiliency in Athens include:

  • sharp decline in the population
  • large influx of refugees
  • increasingly aging infrasture
  • threat of earthquakes, violence and civil unrest
  • fragmented government structure and overlapping jurisdictions
  • the socio-economic crisis in Greece and Europe
  • declining incomes, growing personal debt, high real estate taxes
  • unprecedented levels of unemployment, poverty and homelessness
  • climate change, and insufficient climate protection of existing buildings, as well as public works and new building construction disregarding local climate conditions
  • social and economic decline and desolation of the city center
  • socio-economic squeeze of the lower income brackets

All of these challenges have recommended solutions in Athen’s Resiliency strategy based off the four pillars.

Stakeholder Engagement:

The stakeholder engagement began with the Agenda Setting Workshop that included 130 Athenians. After the workshop, stakeholders who were engaged included: city officers and elected officials, central goverment authorities, academics, non-profits, entrepreneurs, and a large variety of citizens and community groups. More than 140 organizations and 900 citizens participated in 40 workshops, conferences and public events. Athens engaged with fellow cities with international and local experts from each city. They used working groups, focus groups, workshops, confrences, meetings, and online surveys to engage stakeholders.

Who is missing:

While specific citizen demographics/ groups were not particularly clarified, I would venture to guess that most likely refugees, homeless people, and potentially groups/ members of groups who participate in civil unrest and/or violence were most likely not included in the conversation. While this might indicate that these people were not considered a high enough priority that DRRM researchers who complied this report would mention the efforts made to engage them, it could also indicate that these groups of people were difficult to contact or engage. Members of violent or civil unrest groups probably don’t want to identify themselves as members of these groups, though these groups often make their demands know via demonstrations. Homeless people and refugees may be difficult to stay in contact with, and/or not want to give out their personal information. While the report does not mention direct efforts to engage these people, or if these people were included in the large number of citizens who were engaged, the report does mention specific ways the resilience plan can help address likely concerns of these people.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.