Negotiations of Socio-Spatial Coexistence through Everyday Encounters in Central Athens, Greece

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Negotiations of Socio-Spatial Coexistence through Everyday Encounters in Central Athens, Greece

  • Eva (Evangelia) Papatzani Department of Urban and Regional Planning, School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens, Greece
  • Lena Knappers Independent Researcher, The Netherlands

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Abstract:  Over the past decades, Athens has emerged as both a destination and gateway city for diverse migrant populations. Athenian urban development interrelated with migrants’ settlement dynamics has resulted in a super-diverse and mixed urban environment. This article focuses on the western part of Omonia, in central Athens, Greece, and investigates sociospatial trajectories of migrants’ habitation, entrepreneurship, and appropriation of (semi-)public spaces. It draws on scholarship about everyday encounters where negotiations of difference and interethnic coexistence take place at the very local level. It explores encounters between migrants, as well as between migrants and locals, that are created due to their everyday survival and social needs. The article argues that these ‘place-specific’ and ‘needs-specific’ encounters emerge as ‘micropublics’ that are open to negotiation, manage to disrupt pre-existing social boundaries, and epitomise processes of belonging in the city. The article draws from ethnographic fieldwork and qualitative semi-structured interviews carried out from 2013 to 2014 and from 2018 to 2019.

Keywords:  Athens; everyday encounters; local diversity; micropublics; migrants’ settlement; socio-spatial coexistence; urban space

Published:   28 July 2020


© Eva (Evangelia) Papatzani, Lena Knappers. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.