synAthina Platform

synAthina is the common space which brings together, supports and facilitates citizens’ groups engaged in improving the quality of life in the city.
synAthina's aim is to support the activities of the citizens the City and create a new perception about the relationship between civic society and local governance and cultivates their dynamic, bidirectional bond.
synAthina platform has brought a new era of social innovation in Athens, bringing new perspectives and approaches to bear on challenges.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

Greece is perceived to be at the frontline of the European social and political crises.
Athens is its lab.
In areas where social welfare and urban challenges were badly hit, Athens had to find fast and effective solutions. Athens had to re-invent itself.
Despite the political risk, Athens did not hesitate to invest in long-term resilient strategies. With budget cuts and a shrinking staff, it managed to reach out to the untapped capacity of the entire city. Even before the terminology had entered its communication vocabulary, Athens was innovating out of necessity. Social innovation sprung naturally by turning to its citizens with new models of engagement and participation, unintentionally similar to models of Greece’s ancient city-states.
After systematic design for accountable and transparent processes that brought international attention and awards, the fruit of its efforts have started to become apparent.
Extreme poverty and the refugee crisis were not only met with relief initiatives, but now Athens has become the test-bed for innovative ways to re-activate and integrate inactive populations. The previously "un-digitalised" administration is now crowdsourcing creative input from the rising community of developers. Neighborhoods are co-designed with local inhabitants. Previously abandoned buildings are now met with groundbreaking management models and new use. A wide range of small-scale experiments have managed to pull Athens out of a dark place to the forefront of Europe’s 21st century. It is the proof that with innovation, cities can do more with less.
Athens sees itself as a role model not necessarily for well-resourced and powerful cities, but for having achieved to embrace its compassionate and committed communities. This cultural leap forward makes Athens a pioneer for the type of innovation that prepares societies to better address the challenges of the future.
SynAthina is an initiative of the City of Athens. It was created in July 2013 and today comes under the Vice Mayoral Office for Civil Society and Innovation.
Austerity measures and Greece’s economic crisis have significantly reduced the operational capacity of Athens’ city government. At the same time, a vibrant civil society emerged, with large numbers of citizens working together to improve their neighborhoods and communities. Within this context, City of Athens created synAthina, an online platform to engage members of the community in problem-solving and reform. Individual citizens and community groups can submit volunteer activities, as well as innovative ideas on how to improve their city. Citizens who submit ideas are then connected to the relevant government representatives, non-governmental organizations, and private businesses that can support their efforts. If outdated regulations are needlessly prohibiting the advancement of good ideas or if innovative solutions are to be found out of the activities of the civil society, the synAthina project team harness innovation within the City Hall to update regulations, policies and procedures and has brought the public and private sector to experiment in new ways of working and cooperating.
synAthina platform has brought a new era of social innovation in Athens, bringing new perspectives and approaches to bear on the social challenge of community cohesion and creative citizenship post-crisis. Building on this distinctive approach to tackling urban challenges through a culture of collaborative innovation synAthina has created a space to share, collaborate and learn.

Innovation Description

Innovation Development

Innovation Reflections

Project Pitch

Posted by συνΑθηνά on Monday, 5 November 2018

Supporting Videos

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Identifying or Discovering Problems or Opportunities - learning where and how an innovative response is needed
  • Generating Ideas or Designing Solutions - finding and filtering ideas to respond to the problem or opportunity
  • Developing Proposals - turning ideas into business cases that can be assessed and acted on
  • Implementation - making the innovation happen
  • Evaluation - understanding whether the innovative initiative has delivered what was needed
  • Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways

Innovation provided by:

Join our community:

It only takes a few minutes to complete the form and share your project.