Thessaloniki has a rich history as a major hub of business and culture, from the Roman period to the Byzantine Empire. Today it is still an important metropolitan region for Greece, with an active port, a respected university, and a robust tourist industry. The city, however, has also been affected by the economic and political crises that have rocked Greece in recent years. Growing unemployment from a shrinking manufacturing sector and a lack of opportunities for young people have increased social needs, while resources to provide services have decreased.

Tensions have led to the rise of extremism, riots, and civil unrest, and broken down relations between residents and public authorities. With new projects to upgrade infrastructure, officials see an opportunity to build trust and engagement with community members by involving them in planning processes. They are also using this approach to build response plans to earthquakes and other natural disasters, as well as engage new youth networks in resilience planning.

Resilience Challenges

  • Aging Infrastructure
  • Earthquake
  • Economic Shifts
  • High Unemployment
  • Refugees
  • Riot or Civil Unrest

Meet The Chief Resilience Officer

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Prior to becoming the Chief Resilience Officer of Thessaloniki, Lina Liakou was an elected council member at the municipality of Thessaloniki appointed for issues of civic engagement. In 2015 she became chairman and managing director of the ‘Metropolitan Development Agency of Thessaloniki,’ an intermunicipal legal entity that coordinates national and international research projects.

Prior to this, Liakou was responsible for the design and implementation of the participatory platform of the “REACTIVATE ATHENS / 101 IDEAS”, a research and design initiative of the ETH in Zurich and the Onassis Foundation. Her previous professional experience includes being an associate at the nonprofit organization “School of ARCHitecture for All” and co-founder of the architectural studio “URBAN3” in Athens. She is an architect and a PhD candidate in the department of Urban Planning at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Snapshot of Thessaloniki

  • 322,240

    population as of 2011

Stories About Thessaloniki

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