In this first Zoom-in for the UIA project CUP4Creativity, Levente Polyak joins a pop-up event in the future Adaptér, to learn about the art & tech centre under construction in the heart of Újbuda, Budapest’s 11th district.
CUP4Creativity builds on the district’s current dynamic as a new cultural centre, by generating new connections between cultural producers, artists, creatives, technology initiatives, businesses and residents. One of the key objectives of CUP4Creativity is the establishment of a new cultural institution, Adaptér (a wordplay connecting “adaptation” and “space”) to bring together art and technology in a user-friendly manner. This new institution will act as an entrance point to the local cultural and technology ecosystems, positioned as a hub in a broader network of spaces, a kind of a “decentralised FabLab” at the neighbourhood scale.
For this first episode of the CUP4Creativity podcast, UIA expert Levente Polyák visits the future Adaptér and meets some of the project’s protagonists to explore the perspectives of this new culture and technology venue, the ways it will connect with existing initiatives and spaces and the activities leading to the renovation and opening of the new institution. In the podcast, Barbara Szij (VALYO) tells about the role of temporary events leading up to the opening of Adaptér (3’30”), Bálint Köves (KÉK) explains the cultural and economic context in which the venue is situated (8’45”), while Andrea Kovács (Let it Be! art agency) reveals plans for the cultural programming of Adaptér (12’25”).
DARE is a non-conventional urban regeneration project that instead of focusing uniquely on the physical environment, invests in the skills of its inhabitants and the digital knowledge infrastructure of the area. In the course of the project’s three years, the Ravenna Municipality is cooperating with the Darsena’s residents, businesses, initiatives and institutions to create an inclusive, accessible digital framework for the area. This framework will help the Darsena’s population, users and visitors to better understand their area, develop new skills, improve their quality of life and become protagonists of their neighbourhood. DARE’s digital platform is conceived as a database to combine data coming from various sources, ranging from sensors and statistical data to historical data, visual materials and even stories, to support this process.
For this first episode of the DARE podcast, UIA expert Levente Polyák visited Darsena and met some of the project’s protagonists to explore how knowledge about Darsena is collected and distributed through the platform Darsena Ravenna Approdo Comune (darsenaravenna.it).
Budapest100 is a celebration of buildings and their communities by showcasing their stories and histories. Organised by the KÉK-Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre since 2011 on Spring weekends, Budapest100 invites residents to open their buildings to visitors, organise events and tell the stories of their building. With buildings selected along different themes every year, Budapest100 maintains its slogan that “Every building is interesting” and helps citizens explore the unique micro-histories of their surroundings. The festival is a unique community building event whose spirit and methods have been exported to various cities across Europe.
In this podcast, Cooperative City’s Levente Polyak explores the festival, visits open houses, enjoys its concerts, speaks to volunteers and interviews to the organisers about the built heritage, logistical challenges, community building and the festival’s legacy.
CURING THE LIMBO
Athens has been at the forefront of the 2015 refugee crisis, or “Autumn of Solidarity.” Out of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who arrived to Greece through the Turkish border, over 60.000 people are still in the country and many of them will stay in Athens for a long period, often in a limbo, the in-between state of inactivity and apathy. In this situation, the challenge of public institutions and civil society organisations is no longer to provide the basic emergency services to the freshly arrived individuals and families, but to help refugees exit the limbo and pave the way to their long-term integration. Integration is a complex process that requires many elements: speaking the local language, interacting with one’s environment, having a job and a place to live are fundamental conditions for being part of a community. Helping refugees move from apathy to activity is the first step in this process.
Curing the Limbo, an initiative by the Athens Municipality, connects the issues of integration, housing, exchange economy and active citizenship in a complex programme that helps refugees get involved in neighbourhood initiatives, learn new skills and access the labour market and permanent housing. Curing the Limbo is funded by the EU’s Urban Innovative Actions Programme, helping cities to develop new, innovation solutions for some of the most burning problems they are facing.
This is the first podcast in a series to explore various aspects of Curing the Limbo. In this episode, UIA expert Levente Polyák looks into the active citizenship component of the programme and visits a workshop mapping the Victoria neighbourhood with civic initiatives and refugees. Curing the Limbo builds on the thriving local civic ecosystem of Athens. One of the partners in the project consortium, the Athens Municipality’s community platform synAthina has been mapping, assessing and helping citizen initiatives across the city since 2014. In Curing the Limbo, synAthina focuses on neighbourhoods and initiatives and spaces that can involve refugees in their activities, helping them develop skills, get to know communities and contribute to the creation of a positive impact on a neighbourhood. The platform provides the connection between refugees and neighbourhood groups and initiatives, allowing beneficiaries of the programme to engage with civic activities and to actively contribute to the quality of public spaces and services of Athens.
In this second episode of the Curing the Limbo podcast series, UIA expert Levente Polyák explores how education and training activities within the programme help refugees. The project’s trajectory invites refugees to participate in language courses, audio-visual and ICT trainings and engage with citizen initiatives. These activities help them develop new skills, gradually enter the job market and access housing. In this podcast, Levente returns to the Serafio building, the Curing the Limbo headquarters, located in the Western side of the centre of Athens. Here he joins English and Greek language classes and audio-visual trainings to see how the project’s unique education methodology works in practice. He meets the project’s coordinators and teachers, and interviews refugees about their experiences, combining different voices to create a more nuanced picture of the programme. By collecting testimonies during different visits and from a variety of people involved in the programme, Levente offers a highly personal account of the challenges and opportunities refugees encounter in their endeavour to find a new home in Athens.
In this third episode of the Curing the Limbo podcast series, UIA expert Levente Polyák explores the housing component of Curing the Limbo, in order to understand the mechanisms that allowed to use hundreds of vacant apartments for refugee housing in Athens. In this episode, assembling interviews and discussions made between 2018 and 2022, Levente revisits the housing pilot’s elements and results with the programme’s housing experts and various officers of the housing facilitation unit, while also meeting beneficiaries and property owners to discuss their needs and role in the process. The last minutes of the episode aims at assessing the legacy and impact of Curing the Limbo, in light of emerging housing priorities and policies. By collecting testimonies during different visits and by a variety of people involved in the programme, Levente offersa a highly personal account of the challenges and of opportunities refugees encounter in their endeavour to find a new home in Athens.