Union Youth

Digitalization of Participatory Greening – The case of UnionYouth in Chania 

Funded by Fytorio Ideon, “Academic innovation actions in the framework of the operation of the Observatory for Innovative Entrepreneurship of the Region of Crete”

The contemporary climate crisis pushed communities of actors, cities and citizens to use smart technology, digital platforms, and data-based intelligence to steer creative solutions for greening in their urban ecosystems. This phenomenon brought about an increasing imperative for citizen participation and inclusion, in the co-design of green infrastructures, suggesting alternative ways to deal with the lack or misuse of public space. In this framework, this paper analyzes the case of ”UnionYouth in Chania”, a project that aims a) to build an environmental awareness strategy for Generation Z, b) to promote capacity-building processes related to climate change and environmental protection, c) actually transform the city public space through participatory processes. Specifically, the project describes the creation of a digital platform and a mobile app consisting of several engagement tools that allow interaction between the digital community of youth, the city’s decision-makers, and city greening actors. Therefore, the first part of the paper talks about the necessity of promoting today’s participatory processes in the city for climate change mitigation through a literature review that emerged in the last decade. The second part of the paper examines a case study, namely UnionYouth in Chania, a digital collaborative platform that promotes methods for greening the city through district-based, activity-based, and network-based redesign solutions. The third part of the paper brings about interesting reflections on the relationship between the analog and digital world, and how bottom-up processes may be an important tool in city planning. The overall scope of the analysis of the specific case study is to bring insights into the architectural world, as a means to create more bridges with citizens and communities and contribute to their greening understanding.

Keywords: Climate Change, Generation Z, Green Infrastructure, Raise Awareness, Mobile Application, Participatory Design, Smart City.

team members: Vasiliki Geropanta, Anna Karagianni, Panagiotis Parthenios, Triantafyllos Ampatzoglou, Loukas Fatouros, Vasiliki Simantiraki, Orestis Brokos-Melissaratos, Dimitris Eleftheriadis.

Project leader: assistant Professor Vasiliki Geropanta


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