‘Like the Palm of my Hand’: Children and Public Space in Central Athens

Christos Varvantakis


Urban public spaces are acknowledged as highly important for children. Children’s access to and perception of public space is very relevant to their citizenship rights. In this paper, I discuss some of the uses of public space that children make in central Athens, and how this may transgress both the limitations set forth in schemes for municipal planning and the imagined borders between the public and private spheres. Drawing on a case study of a 10-year-old boy in Exarcheia, I explore the mismatch between his perspectives and official views of the neighbourhood. In addition, and since the focus is on the district of Exarcheia, where strong activist initiatives are at work, I discuss how the issue of children’s participation is treated in alternative, citizen-led initiatives. 

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