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In Athens, a "civic tech" platform to coordinate civil society initiatives

Benchmark Governance and Partnerships Tech, Data & Innovation


Hit by the 2008 financial crisis, Greece embarked on unprecedented austerity measures to reduce its debt levels. Since then, the country has been in recession, and unemployment and poverty have affected a large part of the population, without local authorities having the means to act. Civil society has shown solidarity, and many local initiatives, often unprecedented, have been launched to solve the most pressing problems. While some of these were illegal, the City of Athens has developed a "civic tech" platform called synAthina, to identify, coordinate and support them. This enables the city to better understand the needs of residents, identify best practices and develop legislation to encourage civic initiatives. Through this digital marketing tool, Athens is demonstrating its capacity for adaptation and resilience, and the value of open innovation in improving local policies and co-constructing solutions.

"Athens has recognized the role of civil society and has dynamically embraced citizens' initiatives in its decision-making process. In times of austerity, we wanted to create a systematic mechanism that collects the available capacity of public spirited citizens to co-create new solutions for a better life in the city."

Giorgos KAMINIS, Mayor of Athens, Lessons learned from synAthina, p. 4.

Illustration: synAthina

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