14 Matching Annotations
  1. Aug 2018
    1. The Greek urban system is characterised by the primary role of the metropolitan urban areas of Athens and Thessaloniki; roughly half of the population of Greece lives in these two cities. Metropolitan governance is not foreseen in the Greek local government law despite the population size and challenges of these two extensive areas. There is a number of much smaller cities (under 200,000 inhabitants) which are unable to compete with them in most indicators. Many port-cities such as Rhodes, Heraklion, Chania, Nafplio, Kavala, Volos are depending their local economic development mostly on tourism. Regarding the main urban strategies of the last decades these were more focused on physical planning and less to the confrontation of social and economic problems. Nowadays youth unemployment, social innovation, urban sprawl, heritage management and tourism planning are some of the key challenges Greek cities are looking into.
    1. Through our work, we've found that cities play a leading role in bringing about positive change and that municipalities around the world are managing to overcome slow bureaucratic procedures that often harm the central administration. Public officials must move toward a digital structure if they want to provide their people with faster, more effective services. It must be where the people are, and people are increasingly online now. Athens has committed to bringing more information online, making its actions transparent and accessible, unleashing resources to help people with more complex face-to-face challenges.
    2. The City of Athens provides 55 online services through its central electronic services site, which is another low-profile service which has not been widely advertised. Recently, digital signatures have also become possible, meaning all documents that pass through the municipality can be digitally signed by civil servants and a handwritten one won’t be needed.
    3. teps have already been taken in this direction. This year, for the first time ever, childcare centers introduced electronic registration. “For us, that was a prototype because it was very low cost, developed over the course of three to four months, and included 6,000 families. Before that, they’d have to get all their papers together and go to Sepolia to submit them and wait in very long lines to complete the process. Now that can all be done online and safely. That not only saves time for thousands of people – not to mention the stress – but it also strengthens transparency.”
    4. I ask Hambidis what he would change in the City of Athens if he had the power. “That’s a good question. Let’s see, it’ll be easier for me to tell you what I’m envious of. I’m envious of the projects that, with the encouragement of the local government, facilitate a market for the expansion of high-speed broadband networks. This to me is the base that’s needed to even begin talking about a smart city. If you don’t have high-speed internet, both wired and wireless, then you cannot properly deploy applications. The other would be to be more open. Information is becoming more digital and data has increased in volume. This data is a public good that must be open and available. Open information enhances transparency and accountability, which in turn helps citizens be connected with their city’s administration. If someone goes to a seminar about smart cities, they will learn about smart lighting and other things that cost millions of euros. I’m all for smart lighting, but if someone can’t find out where the children’s playgrounds or the senior centers are in their city with just a few clicks of the mouse, then we have more important things to take care of first.”
    5. In recent years the City of Athens has drawn valuable tips and information from big metropolises around the world, particularly New York. The aim is to optimize the technology that we already have and make it more readily available to citizens. Out of this came the idea for City Hall to do something it’s never done before, appoint a chief digital officer to coordinate the effort.
  2. Apr 2016
  3. Jul 2015
    1. Euro zone leaders at a summit in Brussels were reviewing a draft proposal from their finance ministers on Sunday that sets out conditions for Greece to open negotiations on a bailout. The following is the draft of the paper, seen by Reuters. Phrases contained within square brackets were not yet agreed by all 19 states