Capital flight, debt, and crisis have left visible scars on the face of the built environment in cities world-wide. In central Athens, endemic vacancy, a deteriorating building stock, and a fragmented urban fabric are all symptoms of longer-term processes of decline. Supported by the Onassis Foundation, Reactivate Athens was conceived as a collaborative research and design initiative that would analyze the context of the existing city center in order to develop a realizable post-crisis vision, achieved through creative interventions that identify and mobilize latent potential. The initiative began with a six-month participatory process launched in 2013, when U-TT opened the pop-up “RA Lab” in a vacant storefront. Conceived as a way to encourage productive civic engagement and collect urban design ideas, the RA Lab sought input from residents, interdisciplinary experts, community groups, NGOs, and the private sector. In parallel,
U-TT pursued a broader program of critical mapping, research, and design, which culminated in the development of 101 ideas that target challenges related to vacancy, mobility, the economy, public space, immigration, culture, health and safety, and poverty. These ideas will be presented in a forthcoming book, scheduled for release at the end of 2015.
Alfredo Brillembourg & Hubert Klumpner
Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation – Ariona Hellas S.A.
2013 – 2015