About the Project
Every minute in 2018, 25 people were forced to flee, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency. About 2.4 million people migrated to Europe from outside the continent that year with an additional 1.4 million European migrants. The EU-funded project, Places of Togetherness (PLAofTOGETHER), explores the diversification of European cities and investigates the opportunities for increased tolerance and bilateral exchange through well-integrated urban spaces. Bringing together knowledge from design, geography, and social sciences, the project will help inform local government priorities and local action. The findings will shed light on the types of urban spaces and spatial practices that support positive contact between diverse groups through a systems and multi-level perspective approach.
Nikea, as an Asia Minor refugee settlement neighborhood, has a unique urban typology with many shared courtyards and alleys that run through its building blocks. Moreover, it is a place that has been accommodating migrant populations for over a century. The project aims to explore how people use the courtyards, what types of interactions they facilitate, and how their use has changed over time. Moreover, it aims to work with local people to co-design what the courtyards could look like in the near future.
The project uses a series of ethnographic and participatory methods to investigate and document the past, present, and future of the courtyards through a multi-level perspective approach (MLP). Some of the methods deployed include the following:
observation & documentation,
interviews with local stakeholders and residents,
documentation of visual artefacts, and
open participatory workshops / events.
The project will keep an open and transparent process throughout, so local people can get involved with the research and be informed about its outcomes through both this platform and social media.
The project aims to further contribute to existing knowledge on urban space, social integration, and local action. It has four main objectives:
To expand our understanding of fear and conflict within diverse urban neighborhoods as a multi-level wicked problem that inhibits their transition towards social cohesion.
To establish the role that threshold spaces, between public and private, can play in facilitating contact between different groups within an urban neighborhood.
To break new ground in the field of contact theory and space by introducing co-design and participatory practices of commoning.
To disseminate the project’s findings and methodology through an innovative participatory toolkit that can be used to transition urban spaces into places of togetherness.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 101018417. The research is realized at the School of Architecture of the National Technical university of Athens (NTUA).
The research is realised by Dr. Eleni Katrini (Primary Investigator) and Professor Stavros Stavrides (Institutional Primary Investigator).