In 2011, the team of work proceeded in the planning of an athletic park/space of recreation in the area of “Amperia”, in a property of the Municipality of Chania. Decisive role in the planning, but also in the realization of this project, had the residents of broader ”Amperia” neighborhood.
During the first meeting, the architects of the team, after they studied the plan of city of and identified the points that were offered for this aim, in collaboration with the residents of the neighborhood, selected an of about 6000 m2, piece of land, which belongs to the Municipality of Chania. For the particular area, the city plan envisaged the creation of athletic installations. Up to that time however, roughly the half extent was trespassed by a private individual.
Then, a contact with the authorities of Chania Municipality followed and a concession of provisional rights of use obtained, on the condition that our planning would take seriously into account – as it became – the arrangements provided by the original city plan i.e. the future athletic facility. At the phase of planning, all configurations and the small constructions were drawn so as to be easily reversible, except the parametric planting of trees, destined to remain.
Next, an open call through the local press and a meeting with the residents followed, in which they answered to questions about the requirements in public spaces in their neighborhood. The objective of this meeting was to locate available free public space and those needs that local people consider as a matter of priority.
The team of architects, after evaluating the opinions put forward, updated the initial draft project, in re-designing of space and after the completion of the study, this was presented to the residents. The constructional details were discussed, a list of volunteers was made-up depending on the skills and their interests and several working groups formed. During the preoperational phase of the project an additional call to the neighborhood residents as well as to all interested parties was issued via the internet, local press, radio and the television, analyzing and explaining the reasons for which the residents adopted this movement.
Due to the limited economic resources and, in general, the difficulty of obtaining the required materials, it was crucial to locate sources and/or sponsors willing to support the implementation of the plan. The team decided to use available materials – mainly reuse and/or recycling of different materials. Very important was also the skilled work, voluntarily offered by private individuals.
The first two days, after the construction of the park had started, the turnout of people was very big, considering the available human resources of neighborhood. Remarkable is the fact that volunteers of all ages contributed, so much from the neighborhood, as well as from other neighborhoods of Chania. The work that was realized included paving – without the use of concrete – clearing of the field and preparations for planting trees ornamental bushes and other plants. Also, seats and tables crafted from old wooden-pallets and voting-urns, umbrellas for shading, games etc. were made.
This formerly abandoned space was thus quickly reshaped, acquired a new, functional dimension and was activated in order to be given for relax and recreation to the people and to children to meet play safely. Pushing forward this laborious effort, a more refined detailed reformation proposal for a more complete park with additional recreation qualities, embraced by the residents, was elaborated and put forward and the p-public group was most happy to see that it was approved by the Municipal Council of Chania.
The actions earlier described, apart from the knowledge and the skills obtained by all involved parties also helped to strengthen the relations between the residents. A feeling of solidarity and team work has been advanced among the people. Besides, a familiarization of people with the public space which was shaped with their help and participation was obtained; this relation gave birth to respect, protection and care of the new space improved communication among people and helped improve life quality standards.