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Androniki Pappa


Androniki is an Architect, licensed from the Technical Chamber of Greece, with international professional experience. She holds a diploma in Architecture from the University of Patras, Greece (2016) and an MA in Architecture and Historic Urban Environments from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL (2019).

She has collaborated with several international studios, gaining professional experience in diverse projects including architectural and interior design, landscape and urban scale projects and masterplans, as well as policy and guideline reports. She has also worked as a researcher in the Hellenic Institute of Architecture and recently as a teaching assistant at the Master in City and Technology, IAAC.

Her research incentives relate to interdisciplinary methodologies towards the concept of participatory planning and engaging urbanism in heritage, working across architecture, art installation, model making, film, ethnography and social history. She has also actively participated in exhibitions, lectures, workshops and conferences as an organizer, researcher and volunteer.

Research topic

Updated sumaries

March, 22, 2022

September, 17, 2021

Urban commons for Sustainable Local Development in priority neighbourhoods


In recent decades many governments across the globe are implementing experimental forms of collaborative governance in urban regeneration as an alternative to the normative neoliberal management of urban resources and its insufficiency to contribute to the construction of affordable and sustainable communities. At a local level, municipalities adapt their development strategies to follow the targets set by international agendas for sustainability, while active communities showcase bottom-up creative and innovative ways to manage the urban commons.


Focusing on ‘priority’ residential neighbourhoods and populations there is an urgency for Sustainable Local Development (SLD) strategies to move beyond climate-and economic-resilient considerations to addressing also very critical social ones. In this frame, citizen engagement with the urban commons can offer a response to contemporary urban challenges through the activation of local networks of relations (commoning) that foster platforms of individual/collective rights. Starting with the city of Lisbon and the BIP/ZIP Program and focusing on the European context, the aim of this research is to investigate how urban commons theory and practices can influence SLD strategies to fortify social and territorial impact in priority neighbourhoods. This requires a preceding study of the two pillars of the research to understand: a. what defines SLD and what are the most appropriate indicators to best describe and measure its impact and b. in what scheme can urban commons in the neighbourhood be represented, including resources, people and social practices and how can their impact be assessed.


To address these questions, the study employs a mixed-methods methodology that initiates with a comprehensive literature review on urban commons and sustainable development to arrive to the identification of indicators and criteria for definition. The theoretical analysis of the two pillars will come together in a common framework and refined during the secondment at the Municipality of Lisbon. Based on this framework, a data-driven approach on the case study of BIP/ZIP (425 projects) will compose a taxonomy, out of which good practices will be drawn and further explored using qualitative methods. Finally, the lessons learnt will be applied through action research in the involvement in ongoing BIP/ZIP projects, as well as the second secondment at Pacte Laboratory in Grenoble.


The study will be delivered to the development of a framework of transferable guidelines for sustainable local development through urban commons that augment the collaboration between different stakeholders to achieve social and territorial cohesion. The results of the research will contribute to the scientific discussion on commons theory and sustainable local development. Starting with BIP/ZIP and Lisbon Municipality and communities, the research will offer itself as a tool for collaborative local development and co-management of the urban commons, contributing to a social-inclusive, sustainable future.

Reference documents

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Citizen participation evaluation and urban co-governance: lessons from BIP/ZIP and the world of commons


In recent decades many governments across the globe have implemented participatory and commons-oriented policies in urban regeneration, contributing to the active engagement of citizens in planning at different scales, as well as in co-managing the urban commons.


Ranging from bottom-up good practices of participation that evolve into policies, to top-town initiatives that recognise the benefits of multi-stakeholder governance for local development, the repository of case studies demonstrate an array of experimental planning and governance tools. Among others, these include creative communities, social innovation initiatives, participatory funding, local policies, city regulations or protocols and networks of good practices. One such instrument of public policy is the ongoing BIP/ZIP local development  strategy, constituted in 2010 by the Lisbon City Council. Focusing on priority intervention neighbourhoods and zones, BIP/ZIP enables bottom-up citizen participation in co-government models, urban interventions and cultural initiatives and counts to date 391 realised projects in Lisbon. 


Despite the increasing experimentation on participatory policies and governance, several researchers identify the deficiency of an evaluation mechanism for their effectiveness as the greatest challenge and -possibly- need in order to highlight good practices and trajectories. The plurality in goals, methodologies and definitions of each case complicates the essay in developing replicable models of evaluation.


After ten years of implementation the BIP/ZIP strategy can become a lighthouse for knowledge-sharing for other cities. A comprehensive research on the program’s collaborative, operational and funding tools, together with a taxonomy of participatory governance projects internationally and a review on the published empirical evaluation literature is formative to identify indicators and key vocabulary for a transferable model of evaluation and co-governance. Therefore, the purpose of this project is to identify patterns and indicators and further experiment through community-based participatory research, in order to develop an evaluation toolkit integrated into a co-governance model.


The results of the research will contribute to the scientific discussion on participation evaluation, as well as to the design of a co-governance model. Starting with BIP/ZIP and Lisbon Municipality and communities, the model will offer itself as a tool for collaborative local development and co-management of the urban commons, contributing to a social-inclusive, sustainable future.


Recent activity

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The wave of participation: bottom-up and top-down

Posted on 28-07-2022

Last month I had the chance to participate at the conference 'Nature for inclusive Urban Regeneration' organised by URBINAT in Milan. I was very pleased to present my working paper ‘Commoning (in) the Neighbourhood, Righting the City’ and discuss a definition of the Right to the City (R2C) through commoning and the role of the state in this discourse, looking at the case of Lisbon.   The first formulation of R2C dates back to 1960’s Henry Lefebvre (1996), but since then it has been a highly discussed topic and one of the main ideas reclaimed by emancipatory practices and practitioners, including the urban commoners. So, while the definition of the R2C through bottom-up commoning activities in the neighbourhoods clearly entails representations of collective struggles of communities to reclaim the urban value (Borch & Kornberger, 2015), there is a debate among theorists on the role of the state in these negotiations. In other words, the question that emerges is: Can the R2C and commoning be seen in terms of existing state and market principals? Possibly oversimplifying Huron’s (2018) analysis of two antithetical positions by anticapitalists on the one hand and institutionalists on the other, the response would be ‘no’ and ‘yes’ respectively.   Yet, exploring what lies between binary responses, I would argue, can also reveal radical alternatives. This consideration arose in my research explorations already since our RE-DWELL very first training activity back in September 2021, namely the Lisbon Workshop. There, during a highly engaging open discussion on participatory processes among Early-Stage Researchers, supervisors and representatives from our non-academic partners, Miguel Brito from the Municipality of Lisbon illustrated the notions of bottom-up and top-down initiated participatory processes as a wave. I spent days reflecting on the strength of this expressive image. What does it offer to conceptualise top-down and bottom-up initiated participation, or in extrapolation other emancipatory practices, such as commoning and the R2C, as a wave and what does this meeting serve?   The urgency for this encounter relates to the transformation of knowledge from static, siloed and self-referential that contributes to the preservation of the existing power structures, to dynamic flow between grassroots informal urbanisation and top-down formal urbanisation that can produce new strategies in research and practice. In this way, as Melanie Dodd (2019) explains, in one direction we must consider the ways in which urban activism can transform institutional structures and produce new kinds of institutions; on the other direction, ways that institutional resources can reach disadvantaged sites and transform unhealthy norms ingraining creative intelligence in informal dynamics.   Arguably, these knowledge flows need to be curated until the two notions reach a balance, in which communities remain committed to practicing their R2C and formal urban planning allows for real synergies and transformations to emerge. Until then, a great challenge remains. How to facilitate such dialogues without abandoning one’s radical values or serving unintentionally co-optation agendas?     References   Borch, C., & Kornberger, M. (2015). Urban commons: Rethinking the city. Routledge.    Dodd, M. (2019). Spatial practices: Modes of action and engagement with the city. Taylor & Francis.   Huron, A. (2018). Carving Out the Commons: Tenant Organizing and Housing Cooperatives in Washington, D.C. 1 edn. Minneapolis: University Of Minnesota Press.   Lefebvre, H. (1996). The Right to the City. In E. Lebas, Elizabeth, Kofman (Ed.), Writings on Cities (Vol. 53, Issue 2, p. 260). Mass, USA Blackwell Publishers.

Conferences, Reflections, Workshops

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Posted on 18-07-2021

Through the juxtaposition of things that were not normally found together, new irruptive truths are produced. (Benjamin, 1999)   Walter Benjamin’s idea contextualised in the production of knowledge, has been in my mind for years, as a new way to engage with inquiry, research and lately life. Even before being accepted to participate in the exciting RE-Dwell ITN, when I could only dream of it, I was seeking ways to reposition and redefine myself in line with this idea.   I honestly couldn’t imagine what a great opportunity would be eventually given to me through RE-DWELL’s multi-disciplinary network of people and activities. The moment of truth came with the 4-day Kick-off session, in which I was exposed for the first time in this juxtaposition with a number of incredibly talented researchers, supervisors and collaborators, coming from different countries, backgrounds, cultures and interests. And beyond any personal insecurity, stress or awkwardness the truth was rewarding; 4 days of seeking for connections, rich discussions, interesting definitions of the same concepts from different angles, overcoming any limitations that the new virtual operations bring.   Yet it was not in the amazing conversations and collaborations, the knowledge sharing, the multi-level engagement and many more that I find the success of this Kick-off session. Most significantly, it acted as a threshold, establishing the transition from the individual to the collective, providing the invaluable feeling that no one will be alone within this demanding yet exciting journey. It provided a sense of belonging and the formation of a community, in which all of us will have a foot on to share ideas, concerns and questions, in parallel to our individual research.   My inherent belief in this community makes my heart full of excitement for what follows!   ---------------------------- Benjamin, Walter. 1999. The Arcades Project. conv. N2,1, trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 460.



Case studies

Contributions to the case study library


Contributions to the vocabulary

Participatory approaches

Area: Community participation

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, participation is “the act of taking part in an activity or event”. Likewise, it can also mean “the fact of sharing or the act of receiving or having a part of something.” It derives from old French participacion which in turn comes from late Latin participationem, which means “partaking” (Harper, 2000).  References to participation can be found in many fields, including social sciences, economics, politics, and culture. It is often related to the idea of citizenship and its different representations in society. Hence, it could be explained as an umbrella concept, in which several others can be encompassed, including methodologies, philosophical discourses, and tools. Despite the complexity in providing a holistic definition, the intrinsic relation between participation and power is widely recognised. Its ultimate objective is to empower those involved in the process (Nikkhah & Redzuan, 2009). An early application of participatory approaches was the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) which exerted a significant influence in developing new discourses and practices of urban settings (Chambers, 1994; Friedmann, 1994). In the late 1970s increasing attention was paid to the concept by scholars, and several associated principles and terminologies evolved, such as the participation in design and planning with the Scandinavian approach of cooperative design (Bφdker et al., 1995; Gregory, 2003). Participation in design or participatory design is a process and strategy that entails all stakeholders (e.g. partners, citizens, and end-users) partaking in the design process. It is a democratic process for design based on the assumption that users should be involved in the designs they will go on to use (Bannon & Ehn, 2012; Cipan, 2019; Sanoff, 2000, 2006, 2007). Likewise, participatory planning is an alternative paradigm that emerged in response to the rationalistic and centralized – top-down – approaches. Participatory planning aims to integrate the technical expertise with the preferences and knowledge of community members (e.g., citizens, non-governmental organizations, and social movements) directly and centrally in the planning and development processes, producing outcomes that respond to the community's needs (Lane, 2005). Understanding participation through the roles of participants is a vital concept. The work of Sherry Arnstein’s (1969) Ladder of Citizen Participation has long been the cornerstone to understand participation from the perspective of the redistribution of power between the haves and the have-nots. Her most influential typological categorisation work yet distinguishes eight degrees of participation as seen in Figure 1: manipulation, therapy, placation, consultation, informing, citizen control, delegated power and partnership. Applied to a participatory planning context, this classification refers to the range of influence that participants can have in the decision-making process. In this case, no-participation is defined as designers deciding based upon assumptions of the users’ needs and full-participation refers to users defining the quality criteria themselves (Geddes et al., 2019). A more recent classification framework that also grounds the conceptual approach to the design practice and its complex reality has been developed by Archon Fung (2006) upon three key dimensions: who participates; how participants communicate with one another and make decisions together, and how discussions are linked with policy or public action. This three-dimensional approach which Fung describes as a democracy cube (Figure 2), constitutes a more analytic space where any mechanism of participation can be located. Such frameworks of thinking allow for more creative interpretations of the interrelations between participants, participation tools (including immersive digital tools) and contemporary approaches to policymaking. Aligned with Arnstein’s views when describing the lower rungs of the ladder (i.e., nonparticipation and tokenism), other authors have highlighted the perils of incorporating participatory processes as part of pre-defined agendas, as box-ticking exercises, or for political manipulation. By turning to eye-catching epithets to describe it (Participation: The New Tyranny? by Cooke & Kothari, 2001; or The Nightmare of Participation by Miessen, 2010), these authors attempt to raise awareness on the overuse of the term participation and the possible disempowering effects that can bring upon the participating communities, such as frustration and lack of trust. Examples that must exhort practitioners to reassess their role and focus on eliminating rather than reinforcing inequalities (Cooke & Kothari, 2001).

Created on 17-02-2022

Author: M.Alsaeed (ESR5), L.Ricaurte (ESR15), A.Pappa (ESR13)