Redefining Spatial Justice in Athens as a City of Crisis:
Contesting the Urban Common
The main objective of the this research project is to study urban policies and practices concerning spatial justice in Athens as a characteristic example of a city facing a multifaceted crisis. Our hypothesis argues that such a crisis has triggered antagonistic responses as well as claims concerning the definition and management of urban commons. The dominant austerity policies have increased social inequalities and withered hopes for a more just distribution of urban resources. On the other hand, practices of resistance and of collective survival of those threatened by the crisis reinstate demands of spatial justice, but they also often enact rights that are violated or abolished. Both kinds of political practices place the role of urban commons at the centre of urban conflicts and thus directly shape the limits and potentialities of spatial justice.
In order to explore the interconnections, interactions but also possible synergies between policies on the one hand and citizen initiatives and urban movements on the other we will focus on two distinct areas of inquiry that are crucial for the redefinition of spatial justice in contemporary Athens:
(1) antagonisms revolving around the right to housing in the light of the rising ‘touristification’ of the southern metropolis and
(2) endeavours of alternative cultural production compared to dominant city policies concerning culture.
We argue that examples drawn from these two areas of investigation illustrate exemplary spatial processes of contestation, thus revealing the underlying conflicts between acts of the dominant political authorities and acts of alternative everyday life organization and inhabitation.
Dr. Stavros Stavrides, architect, is Professor at the School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens, Greece, where he teaches graduate courses on housing design (social housing design included), as well as a postgraduate course on the meaning of metropolitan experience.
Extensive research fieldwork in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Mexico focused on housing-as-commons and urban struggles for self-management.
Research topics include urban commons, urban struggles, experience of metropolitan space, housing, spatial theory, architectural design and planning.
His recent publications include Common Spaces of Urban Emancipation (Manchester 2019), Common Space. The City as Commons, (London 2016, Istanbul 2016, Athens 2019, Lisbon 2021), Towards the City of Thresholds (Trento, 2010, Madrid 2016, Istanbul 2016, N. York 2019), Suspended Spaces of Alterity (Athens, 2010) and From the City-as-Screen to the City-as-Stage (Athens, 2002 National Book Award) as well as numerous articles on spatial theory and the urban commoning culture. He has lectured in European and North and South American Universities on urban struggles and practices of urban commoning. Personal homepage: http://courses.arch.ntua.gr/stavrides.html.
Christos lives in Athens. He is a PhD candidate at the Athens School of Architecture of NTUA in the field of Urban and Regional Planning. He is a Mechanical Engineer specializing in Environmental Impacts and Resource Management. He has an MSc in Environmental Geotechnics from the University of Almeria (UAL), Spain in partnership with the Autonomous Technical University of Barcelona (UAB). He has worked in Ιndustrial Environmental projects as a Submittals Reviewer, has experience in Public Sector Environmental Tendering Projects. His research interests focus on issues related to Research Methods and Commons Theory.
Penny (Panagiota) Koutrolikou
Penny Koutrolikou (GR) is a Senior Lecturer at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) School of Architecture. She is an architect/planner, with an MA in Sociology (Goldsmiths College, UK) and a PhD in Planning Studies (UCL, UK). Her PhD research focused on ethnocultural relations in East London’s “multiculturalism”. Most recently, she has been working on processes of stigmatization and racism in inner city, on discourse analysis of politics, media and policies, on questions of hegemony, crisis and governance, and on socio-spatial justice.
Dimitris Loupetis is an architect, graduate of the National Technical University of Athens. In 2020 he completed his postgraduate studies in the inter-departmental program "Research in Architecture: Design - Space - Culture" of NTUA, with the elaboration of his dissertation "From urban safari to becoming-local: Mythologies of AirBnB". Since 2021 he has been working on his doctoral dissertation "Exercises of Locality: Representations of the center of Athens as a territory of spatial justice claims". His research interests concern the experience and representation of urban everyday life, urban tourism, city movements and spatial justice. He lives and works in Athens.
Antonis Papangelopoulos holds a Diploma in Architecture and a Post Masters Degree in Research in Architecture- Spatial Design from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). He has served as a Teaching Assistant in Architectural Design studios and is currently engaged in research on questions of spatial justice focusing on the intersections between aesthetic practices, urban design and the commons. He has collaborated with multiple architectural practices in Greece and abroad, participating in projects of wide programmatic diversity, ranging from housing to public use complexes. Together with Yannis Mantzaris and Marianthi Papangelopoulou he is a co-founder of Studio Enyo.