Kipos³ concerns an independent urban community gardening initiative in the city center of Thessaloniki, since February 2014.
Kipos³ (translation: Kipos=garden <“Garden in the Cube”), started as an academic pilot project, to introduce the community engagement in green public space stewardship under the condition of economic recession and limited urban interventions, organizing the 1st urban community garden in Thessaloniki. The initiative was selected for funding by two private organizations (Angelopoulos CGIU Fellowship & Robert Bosch Foundation). It was presented in the Municipality’s Department of Urban Environment (Green Space Conservation Service) and gained the Mayor’s trust & support to develop, in a city with no previous experience in urban agriculture, limited community building practices and citizens’ participation in public space design. The space where Kipos³ (600m2) took place, in Doxa area, is a public green space, a former parking lot, which hosts also an urban vineyard and orchard. Today, 30 families from the neighborhood participate, while the project is also supported by the city’s Centre of Environmental Education (KPE), organizing educational activities for schools.
Kipos³ implementation steps:
1. Mapping of potential spaces within the city
2. Campaign calling 6 different districts to get engaged
3. Space selection upon several criteria
4. Door-to-door campaigns to raise awareness in the selected district
5. Garden creation in parallel with a series of community workshops (schools, residents) around gardening and active citizenship
- Space & watering system: Municipality
- Infrastructure (soil, plants, wood, tools), services for workshops & communication: project budget (funding) (4.000€ & 10.000€ - phase B & C)
- Additional constractions & services: volunteer contribution
- Garden’s maintenance: Gardeners’ common reposit
Evidence of success
Indicators of success: academic works referring to Kipos3 (>30), number of students & researchers visiting garden for educational reasons (>500 in 4 yrs), duration (6yrs), percentage of the first & still active participants (>70%), zero vandalism events, European and international projects where it is elaborated as a good practice (>7).
- Implementation into phases guided to efficient use of the initial budget, monitoring & evaluating project’s evolution in collaboration with the authorities
- Citizens’ engagement was built upon communal activities (educational, recreational, cultural with the garden as the reference point).
Potential for learning or transfer
Kipos3 inspires as it evolved from scratch:
- introducing the concept of urban gardening in practice & investing on the neighborhood’s social capital and residents’ unique skills
- combining top-down orchestration & bottom-up spontaneity & creativity
- operating as a platform for social integration and participation, as a collective commission to give life to a green space, redefining the sense of “neighborhood.”
- as a space not only for healthier, organic, and locally cultivated food, but also as an opportunity to build a more cohesive, inclusive, resilient community, as a space for synergies and discussion about the city itself
- developing in phases giving time for monitoring, gaining the trust of local authorities, and attracting more and more residents
- operating in a self-organizational model along with the overview & collaboration with the City
The project was presented in national, European & international networks.