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Filling in the gaps

Traces of Commerce, Athens

photo by Stathis Mamalakis © Traces of Commerce

The rebirth of a neighbourhood through creativity and collaboration

If we just think about life in a big city, we think about the lack of space, about being too many people in a limited space. Instead of that, the city of Athens, an urban context severely hit by the financial crisis, has 30% of its building reserve empty. The city’s ground-floor network, once the steaming engine of its urban welfare, has now become a redundant landscape of empty spaces. Within this context of decay, Traces Of Commerce is organized as an initiative aiming to bring back to a state of activity a vacant public space of Athens, Stoa Emporon (Arcade of Merchants). A dead zone in the city centre which remained stagnant, with its small shops empty of any commercial activities for more than a decade.

The vision of the initiative is the re-birth of this symbolic public space through the establishment of a productive platform with interdisciplinary synergies that opens up to the city.

Creative workshops and collaborations began in May 2014, hosting several initiatives experimenting in the relations between the disappearing “old-commerce” and the possibilities open by new ideas and new technologies. Helped by the engagement of the local community, a productive and participative environment was generated. Recycling the historical and cultural energy of the place for boosting the newcomers.

The settlement of creative start-ups and small entrepreneurial has finally transformed the ground level of the Social Security Fund for the Merchants building into a transparent laboratory of creativity.

And the lights are now on again.

More at:

#new_urban_uses; #regeneration; #creative_industries; #cultural_industries; #social_innovation; #public_use; #startups & #innovators; #locals; #Athens

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