Experts from the EU’s ROCK (Regeneration and Optimisation of Cultural heritage in creative and Knowledge cities) program were in Athens, last month to discuss ways of re-inventing historic city centers through culture and cultural heritage.
Aimed at tapping into innovation and collaborative efforts to promote a circular systemic approach to the regeneration and adaptive reuse of historic city centers, 32 ROCK member cities as well as spatial planning experts, academics, city authorities and consultants attended the annual event held this year at Athens’ Serafio.
The ROCK partners presented their urban regeneration actions and projects, exchanged know-how and good practices, and were informed about the progress of ROCK initiatives. Delegates also visited Theatrou Square and the revived Merchants Arcade – both redeveloped under the city’s three-year “This is Athens & Partners” project.
With some 10 million euros granted through the EU’s Horizon 2020 program, the ROCK initiative aims to implement heritage-led regeneration initiatives which will set the groundwork for sustainable economic growth for Europe’s urban centers.
It should be noted that Athens has already been awarded by Eurocities for its ongoing SynAthina platform, which has served as a model for other cities in the network, including Lisbon and Skopje.
The SynAthina platform invites city residents to put forward ideas and projects aimed at improving city life. Based on input and feedback, the Athens Municipal council adapts and updates outdated rules and regulations.
“Athens has helped to define the concept of cultural heritage in terms of accessibility and participation, as well as to develop a more meaningful way of exchanging knowledge and experiences between cities and institutions,” said Amalia Zepou, deputy Athens mayor for Innovation and Civil Society.
The event was organized by the Athens Development & Destination Management Agency (EATA), representing the Greek capital in ROCK.