Athens (GR), Aug 2017. "Refugee Accommodation and Solidarity Space City Plaza" is a grassroots project based in the heart of Athens, born from the commitment of the far-left political network DIKTYO. It represents an alternative to the current framework of migration control imposed by the EU to asylum seekers currently fleeing to Europe.

City Plaza is now celebrating 18 months of activity, during which more than 1,700 residents have transited through the 126 rooms. This anniversary also comes to crown the success achieved by this model of self-coordination and horizontal collaboration, a reference for the integration of asylum seekers in the urban space as opposed to the seclusive and isolated governmental hotspots and refugee camps.

The squatted hotel is able to host about 400 people, including a small number of long- and short-term volunteers. CP social and political daily life is coordinated through meetings to which anyone can participate and bring forward ideas and solutions. Many are the aspects that need to be addressed on a daily basis: from security issues due to the threat posed by right-wing organisation, to the planning of demonstrations and fund raising. For what concerns the internal management, it is instead regulated by shifts and rotas to which everyone has to participate. By so doing, volunteers only keep a background role of support and guidance, allowing asylum seekers to keep full control of their struggle.

But City Plaza also greatly values the social emancipation and general wellbeing of the individual. In this regard, dedicated spaces and workshops are organised based on the ever-evolving needs of CP residents and families, as well as leisure and free-time activities. Therefore, CP represents for the individual a space for personal growth where the human side is always kept in focus and valued as fundamental. This important aspect eventually allows for the development of deep relationships and a tight community which go beyond borders, religions and ethnicity. Although many are aware that this project will probably not go on forever, everyone knows that CP is setting a new model in the European welcome process.


© Mattia Alunni Cardinali
© Mattia Alunni Cardinali