Skip to main content

Pocket Parks

Award category
Reconnecting with nature
You want to submit
NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS AWARDS: existing completed examples
Project title
Pocket Parks
Full project title

''Pocket parks'' are new green spaces in sites that have been previously abandoned and formed urban gaps in densely populated neighborhoods of the city of Athens in all 7 municipal districts. They utilise creatively every inch of public space and form informal meeting places for residents and walkers with great benefits on biodiversity, social inclusion and climate change issues on a local scale reintroducing to the residents their neighborhood safer, cleaner and greener with cooler areas.

What was the geographical scope of your project?
Municipality of Athens
The regions where constracted the 8 "Pocket Parks" and their delivery dates are:
• In Ano Kypseli - and specifically at the junction of Evdokias and Karterias streets. Delivered on 30th July 2020
• In Kolonos is located at the junction of Kilkis and Alamanas streets. Delivered on 27th January 2021
• Pangrati is located at the junction of Ellanikou and Polemonos streets. Delivered on 18th February 2021
• Metaxourgio- Kerameikos is located at the junction of Megalou Alexandrou and Mycenae streets. 9th June 2021
• Sepolia is located in Drama Street. Delivered on 9th July 2021
• Petralona is located on the pedestrian street Dim. Pavlidis. Delivered on 7th October 2021
• Agios Artemios is in the district of Agios Artemios. Delivered on 14th October 2021
• Patisia is located at the junction of Vizyinou and Karkavitsa streets .Delivered on 26th October 2021

Does your project address mainly urban or rural issues?
Mainly urban
Does your project refer to a physical transformation of the built environment or other types of transformations?
It refers to a physical transformation of the built environment ('hard investment')
Has your project benefited from EU programmes or funds?
Has your project won an EU prize?
Your project is fully completed?
When was your project implemented?
How did you hear about the New European Bauhaus Prizes ?
On whose behalf are you submitting the application?
As a representative of an organisation
Please provide a summary of your project

The Municipality of Athens is accelerating efforts to complete a network of 15 “Pocket Parks” in the Greek capital by 2024. The utilization of available small areas for the creation of small green spaces in densely populated areas of the Municipality of Athens, in areas outside the historic center, is a key priority of the Municipality of Athens to improve the quality of life of residents.With the addition of new innovative bioclimatic green spaces and the transformation of the urban gaps of the city into green or even blue infrastructure, the municipality aims to improve the microclimate of the neighborhoods while creating new meeting places for residents, which strengthen their ties and help reorganize of urban and social fabric at neighborhood level.This action is carried out mainly with the sponsorship of institutions and companies and often in synergy with interested Non-Governmental Organizations, through the "Adopt Your City" Program, the independent non-profit organization Athens Partnership that promotes public-private partnership and utilizes donations for supporting the actions of the city. Until today, 8 "Pocket Parks" have been completed with donations: in Ano Kypseli, Petralona, ​​Agios Artemios, Patisia, Kolonos, Kerameikos, Sepolia, and Pagrati. "Pocket Parks" will continue to be created in all neighborhoods of Athens where suitable spaces will be offered. The aim is to provide ecosystem services and mitigate climate risks while facilitating immediate access and safe accommodation, especially for the elderly, children and people with reduced mobility living in densely populated areas with little greenery.All these projects will also enhance biodiversity by favoring local species. It is a project that requires design, persistence and technical knowledge.

Please indicate the main themes of your project with 5 key words
Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of sustainability (including circularity) and how these have been met.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context

At every step of the construction of all 8 “Pocket Parks”, the principles of circular economy and sustainable development are enforced. The Municipality of Athens, through the restoration and environmental upgrade of common areas, provides the citizens with places of recreation and liveliness, while improving the microclimate of the intervention areas. In particular, the design approach focuses on improving thermal comfort through the use of bioclimatic materials, enhancing greenery, sustainable urban mobility, ensuring accessibility for residents and social inclusion in the development of urban infrastructure. The main objectives of the creation of all “Pocket Parks” are:

  • the reduction of the ambient temperature due to the shade of the trees and the evaporation from the extra vegetation
  • the decrease of surface temperatures due to the shade of trees, the increased reflective surfaces and the increased soil moisture.
  • the improvement of air quality due to the reduction of air pollutants from the process of plant respiration
  • the improvement of the comfort of the inhabitants due to shading and lower air and surface temperatures
  • reducing energy consumption for cooling, CO2 emissions from adjacent buildings.
  • increase biodiversity in urban areas by acting as a refuge for animals and birds, which in many cases are now extinct in cities.

A typical example is the “Pocket Park” in the area of ​​Ano Kypseli. It is the first created by the Municipality of Athens and delivered on 30th July 2020 .It gives a wonderful color to a densely populated area of ​​the city. It is a local green lung, a garden dedicated to the diversity. The individual flower beds are bordered by a low evergreen shrub (myrtle leaf), while with the planting of climbing and flowering shrubs, one side turns into a vertical green garden. The “Pocket Park” of Ano Kypseli, is part of the program "Adopt your city" and was created with a donation from the Deloitte Foundation.

Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of aesthetics and quality of experience beyond functionality and how these have been met.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context

The problem in Athens is not only in the lack of open spaces but also in the abandonment of many existing ones, thus creating a ugly image of the city. At the same time, the construction of the previous decades and the conditions that were formed in the city, caused a "suffocation" that spread beyond the center, in many neighborhoods.So, the bet for the Municipality of Athens is double. On the one hand, the care of the spaces that have been abandoned for many years and on the other hand, the creation and utilization of public space. “Pocket Park” could be a social core,which  contributes to the stimulation of the neighborhood identity and the improvement of its cohesion, while strengthening the branding of the city and tourism.This project achieves the aesthetic and environmental upgrade of the space. It highlights the cultural elements of the area, the efficiency and accessibility of public space to residents ,create the appropriate conditions that will enhance the use of housing in the area and the feeling of safety of residents and visitors by 24 hours a day.In addition, all 8 “Pocket Parks” generally act as shelters for city dwellers from the intense rhythms of the city and offer greater contact with nature resulting in reduced stress, increased reflection, mental renewal, and finally a sense of calm and peace.Of course, we should not forget to mention the contribution these 8 “Pocket Parks” have, in combination with other parallel interventions in the city, in improving the internal movements in the neighborhoods, but also in dealing with the discontinuity of the urban fabric through the reactivation of urban gaps.Due to their natural characteristics, all 8 “Pocket Parks” bring to the fore the management of the "blind walls", and they offer an important opportunity to use them to improve the aesthetics of the space and to promote artistic activities expressed through street art. Typical examples of such cases are the large murals (graffiti).

Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of inclusion (equal opportunities, public participation, citizen engagement, co-design, universal design, accessibility, affordability, etc.) and how these have been met.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context

Improving the quality of urban public space is a demand for both residents and visitors to the city. Easy and safe access and stay for everyone and especially for vulnerable population groups such as children, the elderly, people with chronic diseases and disabilities, in cool squares and sidewalks that offer ecosystem services at the same time, enhance vegetation, shading, biodiversity , rainwater management and equipping the public space with elements of cooling and protection from climate hazards are reflected in all the technical projects implemented for the public space of the city. All 8 “Pocket Parks” are formed through the direct participation of the residents and their active cooperation with the state, thus acquiring a special character each time, which is aptly adapted to each case. This creates a public space environment that reflects the particularities and needs of the people to whom it is addressed and in which they can develop relationships with each other, communicate and interact. These ”Pocket Parks”, taking on the role of important "social nuclei" of local importance, enrich the urban fabric with points of interest of neighborhood level, which, under certain conditions, can attract local services of small scale. The neighborhoods of the city are therefore gradually becoming more self-sufficient in terms of leisure and local services and, accordingly, less dependent on the respective larger secondary or metropolitan centers of the city. These results, on the one hand, the better and more direct service of the residents in relation to these specific functions and, on the other hand, the reduction of the needs for urban transportation, especially motorized ones, and therefore the approach of urban development models, such as those of "City of short distances" and "sustainable mobility".Throughout the intervention, emphasis is placed on the issues of accessibility for people with disabilities while the overall upgrade of public lighting is foreseen.

Please explain how these three dimensions have been combined in your project.
Please highlight how this approach can be exemplary

Cities represent the most materialistic form of interdependence of society and the natural environment. For this reason, urban policy was based on a mixed, interdepartmental approach with the cooperation of all relevant parties to focus on urban space and specifically in three dimensions:

  • Sustainability, zero pollution and biodiversity.
  • Aesthetics, quality of experience.
  • Social welfare, inclusiveness, exploiting diversity, ensuring equality for all, accessibility and affordability.

In particular, the spatial structure, the urban planning and the architectural rhythms that are applied, correspond to the landscape and the specific biodiversity that thrives there. For this reason, the urban space should be in harmony with the environment that encloses and surrounds it through the envisaged commitment of areas for the creation of green spaces, the organization of infrastructure for the management of municipal waste in order to reduce them overall. and the design of the building potential under the appropriate specifications in order to help increase the "sustainability". However, in addition to the quantitative solutions that sustainable design can offer, it also contributes positively to the psychosynthesis of the citizens, as it creates an environment of calm and well-being while in parallel with its educational character it strengthens the mood of the citizens for participation in the processes.In any case, all of 8 “Pocket Parks” motivate people to go out of their homes and enhancing the interaction between them. They essentially present the natural environment in the urban space and its inhabitants by contrasting alternative colors, shapes, sounds and experiences, maintaining the important balance between natural and urban environment. Finally, the partnership between Public and Private sector was successful, also with the involvement of inindividuals in research and innovation, with committees of residents and open discussions with the the competent parties

Please give information on the results/impacts achieved by your project in relation to the category you apply for

All of 8 “Pocket Parks” can contribute to the rehabilitation of urban areas and the reorganization of the urban and social fabric at the neighborhood level. At the same time, existing parks and squares of the city are being upgraded through the program. These 8 parks act as scaled-down neighborhood parks, but still often try to meet a variety of needs. Functions can include small event space, play areas for children, spaces for relaxing or meeting friends, taking lunch breaks. They can be a refuge from the bustle of surrounding urban life and offer opportunities for rest and relaxation. However, because space is restricted and user needs are both diverse and vary throughout the day, conflicts can sometimes arise between different groups. Thus, in organizing these 8 “Pocket Parks”, designers often work out a delicate balancing act so that all groups can use the space in peaceful co-existence.Results showed that in the areas where all these “Pocket Parks” were created, there was a reduction in crime (vandalism, drug trafficking, etc.) with the direct result of creating more hospitable neighborhoods and establishing a sense of intimacy and security among their residents. Also, increased physical activity and reduced stress. Specifically, the results that emerged are:

  • creative entrepreneurship gatherings by groups of young people
  • active participation of the inhabitants in their formation resulting in aesthetic diversity
  • social response in problem areas
  • strengthening participatory planning
  • identification of the city with emphasis on the neighborhood unit


Please explain how citizens and civil society were involved in the in the design and/or implementation of the project.
Please also explain the benefits that derived from their involvement.

These 8 "Pocket Parks" have been created as a result of community groups organizing and rallying for more open space and identifying spaces for parks within the urban environment.Specifically, the main goal of participatory planning implemented by the Municipality of Athens for the creation of “Pocket Parks” is the participation of all interest groups in the planning processes. The activation of the various social groups in the area where the urban regeneration takes place is a structural goal of the project. The substantial participation in the overall process of those directly affected or favored and those who have a functional role in the design of the urban landscape, but also of the population groups that "live" and operate in the disputed area where these 8 “Pocket Parks” are created is an important principle for their final success. There is constant and systematic, throughout the design, communication between the designers of the space and future users. The number of potential participants differs in each case. Typical, practices used for constructive cooperation of citizens are open assemblies in the neighborhoods or even at the municipal level, citizens' information groups, open presentations of the plans and upcoming actions, use of the media. Stakeholder groups are actively involved from the first steps of the design and are not formally invited at the last minute to discuss predetermined procedures. A typical example is the creation of “Pocket Park” in Pagrati. In the Summer of 2018, a workshop was held with the residents of the area for the design of the expropriated plot (on Ellanikou Street). Residents participated in the workshop where they designed the space. The enthusiasm and participation of the residents was essential in shaping a common perception of the park's physiognomy: the plantings, the seating areas, the water use. The Municipality of Athens coordinated the process and transferred the climatic perspective of the area.



Please explain what kind of global challenges the project addressed by providing local solutions

Nowadays, while the climate change is intensifying, at the same time the pandemic remains at the center of our life, actions like making the home the center of most daily activities are common. These 8 “Pocket Parks” in addition to their contribution to environmental protection, have a catalytic role in addressing global challenges , providing local solutions. Specifically, as:

  • Financial Crisis. In addition to their purely economic consequences, financial crises around the world, over time, are accompanied by a series of social effects, of equal (if not greater) importance than economic ones. Economic uncertainty, which entails to a large extent survival uncertainty, is causing a general uproar, which is evident in the daily life of cities either through mass reactions or in the daily manifestations of the psychosynthesis of the inhabitants.
  • Alienation. The way modern cities are structured and organized does not favor the communication of the inhabitants. Increased needs, long distances between work and residence, working hours, types of housing chosen, the intense use of the car against of other ways of transport as well as other factors limit the contact between people and make them co-existing units.
  • Intense urbanization. Despite the fact that economic crises often cause decentralization, the tendency of people to concentrate in big cities has never stopped. The reasons for this phenomenon are many, some justified and others exaggerated. Either way, the mass movement of the population in the cities raises multiple issues to be resolved like the lack of open spaces and altered the City.
  • Loss of city identity. The loss of identity of cities is not only caused by the mass settlement of a new population in them, as mentioned above. The residents of the cities themselves are unaware of the history of their place, its special characteristics, its importance and its possibilities. 
Please highlight the innovative character of the project as compared to mainstream practices in the field of the project.

It is not just trees and plants that grow in places that once hurt the eyes of people. At every step of the construction of all 8 “Pocket Parks”, the innovative character of them is evident in relation to the traditional practices that are usually applied. At each stage of construction the guides are the principles of circular economy and sustainable development. Thus, each of “Pocket Park” has its own urban equipment, for example autonomous voltage lighting systems, buckets, taps and benches. "Pocket Parks" are designed in order to become green lungs, using eco-friendly concrete in the pavement and footways, recycled wood benches, densely planted evergreen and deciduous trees and an underground irrigation system. A typical example is the new innovative bioclimatic park of Athens in Sepolia which delivered on 9th July 2021. The design and construction of the pocket park of Sepolia, was carried out based on the principles of sustainable development and the circular economy. The interventions were as mild as possible, without burdening the urban environment in which the park is located. The abandoned area on Drama Street was turned into a lavender garden with the aim of environmental decongestion in the neighborhood of Sepolia. In total, 190 new aromatic plants were planted, ground cover and large shrubs with predominantly lavender, rosemary, myrtle and thyme, the park's infrastructure was completely renewed and the lighting will be enhanced with an autonomous photovoltaic system in order to reduce the photovoltaic. The lights of the park in the first hours of the night will illuminate 100% then for 4 hours 80% and then they will operate at 25% of their efficiency, as safety lighting until the morning.The corridors were paved with gravel, so that we have as little hard material as possible and the park blocks all the rain water. The coating materials are wood while recycled wood or other natural materials were also used. 

Please explain to the potential of transferring the projects’ results or learnings to other interested parties and contexts.
Please provide clear documentation, communication of methodology and principles in this context.

The design of a “Pocket Park” needs special attention, as it largely determines the influence it will have in each area. As beneficial as a well-designed a “Pocket Park” is for a neighborhood, a failed Park can be just as aggravating for it. It is therefore necessary to follow in the planning some general guidelines - rules and methodology that will ensure, as far as possible, the successful outcome of the whole project.

The main such principle is the need for immediate, continuous and systematic, throughout the design, communication between the designers of the space and future users, as the form and content of the Park should arise from the special needs of users, and these serve.

Also important is the "ability" of these 8 “Pocket Parks”, despite their small scale and emphasis on the use of urban recreation, for which they are mainly intended, to improve, through their planting, the microclimate of the neighborhoods. At the same time, its visual and physical relationship with the surrounding areas should be such as to ensure easy and obvious access. The entrances – exits should be easily perceptible and connected to local MMM stations. In addition, all 8 "Pocket Parks" should create a sense of security for their users, provide a variety of alternatives and give the user a sense of flexibility and freedom. Enrichment with uses and activities of local scope and small scale is considered necessary, as they complement its functionality. Finally, a “Pocket Park” should promote social interaction, be a meeting point and create a sense of intimacy.

All 8 “Pocket Parks” that the Municipality of Athens has created so far, follow the above methodology. Alongside, the results of this project are used as an example in the policy of public space renovation implemented by the Municipality of Athens and in larger areas



Is an evaluation report or any relevant documentation available?
If you would like to upload additional documentation, please upload it or write it below
By ticking this box, you declare that you are not in in one or more of the exclusion situations foreseen under Article 136 of the Financial Regulation.
By ticking this box, you declare that all the information provided in this form is factually correct, that you assume sole liability in the event of a claim relating to the activities carried out in the framework of the contest, that the proposed project has not been proposed for the New European Bauhaus Prizes 2022 in any other category or strand and that it has not been subject to any type of investigation, which could lead to a financial correction because of irregularities or fraud.
By submitting your application, you guarantee that you are the author or have the rights to proceed with the application and to authorise the use of the project, concept, idea, and that you have obtained any necessary consents, licenses or assignments from third parties and included copyright notices when necessary.
By submitting your application, you understand that all the applications that meet the eligibility requirements will be shared for the purposes of the selection processes, and notably published on the secured platform and for the purposes of the promotion of these on the New European Bauhaus website and/or other European Commission communication channels. In this sense, the applications would be widely available. Applicants should ensure that they present their ideas, concepts, projects, in such a way that they could be shared without giving rise to intellectual property related concerns. If your submission is selected as one of the finalists, it will additionally be shared for the purpose of the public vote that will take place. The European Union is granted a licence to use and share your application with the general public and the official external experts for the purposes of the selection process, including the voting. The European Union has the right to use the images and visual materials and the description provided in the application for communication purposes related to the contest and beyond. Rights granted comprise the right to store, reproduce, display, publish and communicate or distribute copies in electronic or digital format, including, but not only, through the internet. Unless you have disclosed your name, the European Commission has no obligation to share your name when using or disseminating your contribution to the public. The European Union cannot be held responsible in case any submitted idea, project, concept is found to infringe third parties rights. The European Union shall be neither responsible for the use that third parties may do of the applications or related content.


In order to submit your project, please make sure you have filled in all the mandatory fields marked with *, in both the “Basic information” and “Description of the project” tabs.


The country you have selected is not a Member State of the EU.

Please select the country your project was either implemented in the EU for strand A in or is being developed or intended to be implemented in the EU for strand B.