Community-led revitalization of historic neighborhoods takes hold in Athens

In a city where beautiful buildings are crumbling, it’s not enough to sit around and hope for the authorities to take action. Sometimes, you have to take the initiative yourself.

That’s the rationale behind a small but inspiring art project in Athens, Greece. Seeking to restore dilapidated historic buildings for community use, a group called Communitism is working to restore and revive Athens’ historic but rundown Metaxourgeio neighborhood.

The group has already taken over a grand but threatened neoclassical building (with the landlord’s permission) for use as an artistic and social center. Now it plans to develop as a platform for rolling out restorations across the neighborhood. Its objective: bringing long-term residents together with groups including craftspeople and refugee-support volunteers to make sure that buildings in the area are saved and put to good use.

So far, Communitism is notable for its impressive ethos, rather than its size. By taking matters into its own hands, it could provide a model for activists working in cities where government cash or goodwill is absent.

Photo of Acropolis by Christophe Meneboeuf via Wikipedia.

See full article by Feargus O’Sullivan in CityLab.

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