Perno Abariza” is a social and cultural space of solidarity and participation, where individuals, people and collectives organise political, cultural and social events, discussions and local initiatives, film screenings, book presentations, musical evenings, painting and photography exhibitions. A place for having a coffee and a drink but also a place where we can all create networks: groups of alternative and solidarity economy, free provision of first aid medical services, free and open educational courses and workshops etc. Since October 2015 Perno Abariza established a no-middlemen cooperative initiative at Galatsi acting as a multifaceted response to taking back control of our most basic needs.
Open Lab Athens and Perno Abariza
We were approached by the group to contribute to the creation of an online and offline participatory platform for the city, a platform that will extend the group’s current outreach practices by involving citizens in developing proposals for the city. More specifically the group wants to start a discussion around education and schools in Galatsi and the effects that the future development of a new metro line will have in the area.
We had two initial introductory meetings with the group which brought to the fore a number of challenges that the group is currently facing. In order to map out these challenges while also creating a more concrete plan for future activities, we organised a session in which we discussed and put on paper the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges (SWOT analysis) in addition to mapping out the proposals for ways of reaching out to the city (see pictures below). Following this session and after a common understanding that a technological system could support and scale such participatory endeavors, we organised a session which involved the demonstration and discussion of a number of selected digital platforms:
- FirstLife: a map-based social media system enabling the mapping of commons initiatives in the city — from citizen proposals to organisations and events [https://cocity.firstlife.org/#/]
- Loomio: a decision-making system designed for asynchronous communication and governance of cooperative organisations and community groups [http://loomio.org/]
- Discourse: an open source online discussion forum, recently translated to Greek from contributions from Open Lab. [https://www.discourse.org/]
- Consul: A debate, proposal formation, participatory budgeting, voting and collaborative legislation tool already widely used in Spain (https://decidim.barcelona, https://decide.mardir.es) which combines an online forum for debate and voting with face-to-face assemblies and workshop for decision-making. [http://consulproject.org/]
- Make.place: A geographical survey tool for different types of mapping projects.
The discussion led to an understanding that the FirstLife platform is closer to what the group has in mind as a participatory platform for mapping already existing initiatives and supporting the creation of new ones. We are currently working with University of Torino (that have developed the platform) to make interface adaptations and configure the platform based on this initial feedback. We expect a first prototype of the platform to go live recently at: https://galatsi.firstlife.org
Pictures from the workshops