Urban Agriculture in Thessaloniki. An academic project meets reality

Eleftheria Gavrilidou, Holm Kleinmann, Eleni Oureilidou, Sarantis G.Z. Zafeiropoulos

Abstract


Nearly all projects with Urban Agriculture (UA) impact in Western Europe, in the USA, and in the Developing World are started and thought by single initiatives. In so-called “bottom-up” processes of small scale, they gain energy and power by a fast and none formalized implementation. A master studio project at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, “Red and Green”, presents in contrast a proposal for a huge inner city area with focus on UA as generator for a socio-economic transformation towards a green economy based on social community spirit, considering in particular the crisis situation in Greece. The approach which combines the idea of integrating both top-down and bottom-up forces, attempts an integration of permanent and temporarily elements, and by this, the master plan searches qualities as an innovative planning tool. After a phase of intensive dissemination and evaluation on international level with encouraging attentiveness and recognition, a strategy for a realization in steps was created by KIPOS3, a start-up initiative organized by a group of master students to bring in the city of Thessaloniki the concept a common garden manageable by the residents under also the Municipality stewardship. A widespread network of small fallow islands in the city of Thessaloniki was detected and in a process of “mapping the city” several lots were analyzed referring for good chances of implementation. The description of the long way of discussions with landowners, the municipality and potentially users, the difficulties and obstacles, documents once more the initiators strong will and immense energy, which is necessary for a successful start-up. With financial support of a Greek Fellowship a first garden was created in 2015. The history of KIPOS3 garden in Thessaloniki consists finally a useful lesson on the role of “foodscape” on the reactivation of inactive institutions and communities, a lesson of resilience in a city of deep crisis, a discussion on the top-down and bottom-up mix, and a didactic instrument on the trip of an academic project towards reality.

Keywords


urban agriculture; landscape planning/design; top-down/bottom-up processes; urban resilience; Thessaloniki

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13128/RV-17588



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