WWF “GreenSpaces" Campaign
11 May '16

mobile phone app which enables citizens to create the largest possible participatory map of urban greenery in our cities. An invitation to municipalities and collectives for green action on 5 June, World Environment Day. A demand for collective action to “reoccupy” the green oases and parks in our cities. This more or less summarises WWF’s new "GreenSpaces" campaign, which is launched today and will culminate on 5 June.

With the residents of Athens unable to enjoy even a square metre of green and the situation in other cities remaining far from ideal, WWF’s new campaign for green spaces in Greece is coming to bring us closer to the oases in our cities. In collaboration with an array of organisations and bodies such as the Scouting Association of Greece, the British Council, the NTUA Urban Environmental Worshop, 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 matter of green spaces into our hands, providing all the necessary tools for free.

GreenSpaces: a new free app which comes to change the green map of our cities.

Through this innovative mobile phone application, WWF GreenSpaces [in Greek] becomes a tool in the hands of citizens for mapping green spaces and claiming the greenery that we deserve. Meanwhile, the campaign, which will culminate on World Environment Day, calls upon municipalities and collectives throughout Greece to organise relevant actions and to place themselves on the ‘green map’ of our cities

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

By downloading the app from the campaign’s website and recording and rating even a single green space, app users are automatically entered in a lottery for five bicycles – courtesy of Praktiker outlet chain – and twenty collectors’-item WWF-Hellas t-shirts. Moreover, this app helps users discover green oases and find green spaces that suit their interests, such as playground areas, lush greenery, sports facilities, etc.

So far, 400 volunteers have contributed to recording and rating 720 green spaces in 82 cities and towns.

Moreover, using the WWF GreenSpace app, citizens are able to make their voice heard, indicating what they do or do not like as regards their neighbourhood’s green spaces. The app can thus be useful to municipal authorities, who can directly access visitors’ opinions on the municipality’s green spaces and intervene accordingly to improve the situation.

5 June, International Environment Day: let’s fill the map of Greece with green actions in our cities.

The campaign will reach its celebratory peak on 5 June, with green actions undertaken by Municipal Authorities throughout Greece and by citizens’ groups. The actions will be posted on the Greece-wide action map on the campaign’s website.

“We want both children and adults to reconcile with green spaces; to rediscover and rate them, to take care of them, to become 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 of course, we want this year’s World Environment Day to be a day of action and celebration of urban greenery!”

comments Achilleas Plitharas, head of the WWF ‘Better Life’ programme.

The major donor for WWF’s Better Life programme is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and the programme is also 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 a mere 0.96 m2 of greenery per resident in Athens, while a study conducted by Aristotle University reveals that the corresponding figure for Thessaloniki is 2.14 m2 per resident. This so, at a time when the World Health Organization (WHO) states that the minimum rate for urban greenery should not be lower than 9 m2/resident. However, even the small amount that we do have often either goes unnoticed by citizens or is degraded as a result of the indifference displayed by the authorities and visitor disregard. Still, green spaces are not a luxury but a necessary component for a better everyday life.

You can find out more on the app by watching the following video [in Greek]:

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