In the open discussions that took place within the framework of the project “Adáma”, which has been implemented in Eleusis by the cultural production and management company MENTOR as part of the EIT Community New European Bauhaus action of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), the participants had the opportunity to publicly express their thoughts on living in a city that faces extreme environmental challenges.
They unanimously acknowledged that their quality of life has been dramatically affected and stressed the fact that, lately, the situation aggravated, raising serious concerns regarding their well-being.They also appeared particularly concerned about not having access to vital areas of the city, such as the seafront or green spaces, which exacerbates their discomfort and makes them feel marginalised by the state. Consequently, when asked how they think the situation will change, the answers which they provided revealed their disbelief in a solution that could come from a ‘top-down’ intervention. Moreover, although they consider that the state is obligated to provide solutions, either on a central or regional level, it seems that the authorities are unable or unwilling to do so.
On the contrary, there seems to be a growing conviction among them that the solution must come from themselves, from the grassroots, revealing their strong belief in the feasibility of mobilising local communities. However, they also pointed out the serious information gap in terms of citizens’ awareness of environmental issues, arguing that better information will inevitably lead to greater cohesion, and they also stress the need for the already active citizens’ groups to adopt common strategies for action, putting an end to the current fragmentation of their forces.
Finally, many people referred to the potentially catalytic role that the interventions of the relevant European Union bodies could play, while underlining the essential contribution of projects such as Adáma, which help to encourage citizens’ networks to take a more active role in managing local problems, bypassing the rigidity of central administration and enhancing direct participation.