Start small, think big

Without a doubt, during the present crisis it’s harder to discuss improvement in city life since the crisis is not just a crisis of economic resources but also one of ideologies, identity and belief in our society’s abilities. Improving the quality of life for inhabitants will depend on how we understand the notion of public interest. Aspiring local government leaders must devote energy to persuading their voters that improving their daily lives is directly linked to the continuing enrichment and qualitative upgrading of pubic spaces, and, of course, on inhabitants finally accepting that they can’t limit themselves exclusively to serving their private interests. In that sense, projects to improve large-scale infrastructure – historic centers, main roads, seafronts, rivers and deserted urban centers – by turning them into fragrant complexes of civilized open public space and handing them over to inhabitants would certainly have a beneficial effect. But most inhabitants of Thessaloniki don’t live near the university or along the seafront. Their daily life is in the neighborhoods, and that’s where the emphasis must go, because it’s only there that the individualistic mentality has any chance of becoming collective.

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