Neighbourhood level visioning and participatory planning in 3 cities in Greece

In the last years in Greece, there has been an increasing interest in new urban planning due to the limited availability of land in urban areas. Nevertheless, the existing urban development strategies mainly aim to increase tourism in Greek cities and peripheries, neglecting the needs of the local population at times.

The project “Neighbourhood level visioning and participatory planning in 3 cities in Greece” aims to engage and mobilise the residents of Kalamata, Kavala, and Heraklion Crete, to participate in the urban planning processes. The goal is to create green, sustainable, and livable communities that respond to people’s needs and desires. 

During the project, we will: 

  • Carry out desk research about the existing land use and urban planning processes in the three cities.
  • Map the characteristics of the local population and identify any gender-specific challenges.
  • Implement participatory workshops in Kalamata, Kavala, and Heraklion Crete with the locals.
  • Develop a Neighborhood Level Action Plan with nature-based and sustainable solutions. 

Our approach to urban planning is participatory and dialogue-oriented. Through this innovative, transparent planning process we propose, the three municipalities can learn from each other’s progress and develop plans taking into account the local conditions of each city while saving resources. We believe that this initiative will contribute to making these Greek cities more inclusive for all residents.

We are already creating a fertile ground for inclusive change in the three cities by running participatory design workshops. In Kavala, we held meetings with local government and civil society actors. We discussed with representatives of associations of persons with disabilities, women’s associations and the municipality how the Perigiali area could be developed and what uses it could accommodate.

In Heraklion, Crete, we held a meeting and workshops to co-create the vision for the neighbourhood of Agia Triada with local residents and representatives of the Municipality. We discussed the development plan of the area with the design office that is preparing it and coordinated processes to enrich it with the suggestions of the residents. We collaborated with the Day Care Center for the Elderly of Agia Triada, where elderly people submitted their needs and wishes in terms of daily life, and helped us to co-create the vision for the neighbourhood through the promotion of the stories of the place and collective memory. We talked to women entrepreneurs and women’s associations about their needs and ideas for the development of the area, and finally, we made exploratory walks with residents and mapped Agia Triada through the eyes of its people. 

Kalamata was next. There, we met with municipal authorities, public bodies and business owners in the waterfront of Kalamata to discuss their needs. We conducted site visits and interviews to record how the residents envision redesign of the waterfront. We also conducted a participatory workshop with teenage students of the 1st High School of Kalamata where we recorded the needs of young people for their city through play activities.

We are very happy to be able to advise on participatory planning in the 3 cities and look forward to our next steps!

Location: Kalamata, Kavala, Heraklion Crete

Period: June 2023 – March 2024

The project is part of the Technical Assistance for Sustainable Urban Development in Greece implemented by the World Bank with the support of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO).

In collaboration with the architectural studio Superwien.