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11.05.2016
11.05.2016

WWF – “Greenspaces" | Press Release

WWF – “Greenspaces" | Press Release

A mobile phone app which enables citizens to construct the largest possible participatory green map in our cities. An invitation to municipalities and collectivities for green action on 5th June, World Environment Day. A demand for collective action to “reoccupy” the green oases and parks of our cities. This  more or less summarizes WWF’s new campaign to take urban greenery into our hands, which is launched today and climaxes on 5th June.

With resident of Athens not enjoying even a square metre of green and the situation in other cities remaining far from ideal, the WWF’s new Greece-wide campaign for green is coming to bring us closer to the oases in our cities. In conjunction with a host of organizations and bodies such as the Scouting Association of Greece, the British Council, the Urban Environmental Worshop of the National Technical University of Athens, the PodilAttiki cycling community, the SynAthina platform of the Municipality of Athens, the Social Erasmus students’ network, Monumenta and PireActive, the WWF invites us to take the greenery into our hands, providing free of charge the necessary tools.

Greenspaces: the new free app which changes the green map of our cities.

Through this innovative mobile phone application, WWF GreenSpaces (in Greek) puts into the hands of citizens a tool for mapping areas of greenery and also for claiming the green areas we deserve.  At the same time the campaign, culminating on World Environment Day, calls upon municipalities and collectivities throughout Greece to organize corresponding activities and put themselves on the “green map” of our cities.

From 10th May to 5th June the country’s citizens are invited to take the greenery into their own hands and submit their views on their city’s green areas, utilizing WWF Greenspaces, which enables citizens of all ages to record the green spaces in every Greek city, grade them and comment on their actual condition. See the map with the green spaces that have already been recorded by volunteers.

Downloading the app from www.greenspaces.gr and recording and grading even one green space, users of the app are automatically entered in a lotto for five bicycles, courtesy of the Praktiker stores, twenty collectors’-item WWF-Hellas t-shirts, and in practice can discover green oases and find places ideal for their interests, such as areas with a children’s playground, with lush greenery, with sports facilities, etc.

To date 400 volunteers have contributed to recording and evaluating 720 green spaces in 82 cities and towns.

At the same time, using the WWF GreenSpace app, citizens are able to make their voice heard, indicating what they like and don’t like in their neighbourhood’s green spaces. The application can thus be employed by municipal authorities who can immediately monitor the views of visitors to the Municipalities green spaces and intervene accordingly to improve the situation.

5th June, International Environment Day, we cover the map of Greece with actions on the greenery in our cities.

The campaign will culminate in a ceremony on 5th June, with green actions being undertaken by Municipal Authorities throughout Greece and by citizens’ groups. The actions will be posted on the Greece-wide action map at the campaign’s website http://greenspaces.gr.

“We want a reconciliation, by young and old, with greenery. Rediscovering it, evaluating it, caring about it more, becoming catalysts for improvement. We also want the municipal authorities to listen to the voice of citizens and undertake action to make every Greek city greener. And naturally we want this year’s World Environment Day to be a day of action and celebration of urban greenery!” comments Achilleas Plitharas, who heads WWF’s Better Life programme.

The major donor for WWF’s Better Life programme is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, supported by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation.

Why a campaign for greenery in our cities?

There are not enough green spaces in Greek cities. According to OECD data, there is only 0.96 m2 of  greenery for every resident of Athens whereas on the basis of research by the Aristotelian University the figure for Thessaloniki is 2.14 m2 per resident. This at a time when the World Health Organization (WHO) judges that the minimum proportion for urban greenery should not be under 9 m2/resident. But even the small amount that we do have often passes unnoticed by citizens, while at other times it is downgraded by the indifference of the responsibilities authorities, and also of visitors. But green spaces are not a luxury but a necessary component for a better everyday life.

You can obtain more information on the app from the following video (in Greek):

 

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