Article | Open Access
Making Thessaloniki Resilient? The Enclosing Process of the Urban Green Commons
Abstract: In the global hegemonic resilience discourse, green infrastructure is projected as a “win-win” approach to urban planning. Following the trend of adopting resilience as the new silver bullet for urban development, and in the midst of the recent financial crisis, Thessaloniki, Greece, joined the 100 Resilient Cities network of the Rockefeller Foundation in 2014. This event marked a shift in the city’s public space production and governance programme, introducing new private actors in decision-making processes, an emphasis on green space economic benefits, and an extensive regeneration programme heavily focused on the city centre. The article scrutinises these changes to uncover the policy implications of the turn to resilience in green public space production. Based on data on green public space spatial distribution; semi-structured interviews with municipal representatives and senior employees and representatives of the government, civil society, and local professional associations; policy document analysis; and comparative analysis of all relevant development and planning documents, and drawing on Brenner and Theodore’s (2005) conceptualisation of neoliberalism, the article argues that greening policies in Thessaloniki form an ongoing enclosing process of the urban green commons that articulates in a threefold manner: their discursive construction as “natural assets,” the implementation of spatially selective policies, and the post-politicisation of decision-making processes.
Keywords: Greece; green infrastructure; green public spaces; neoliberalisation; spatial justice; Thessaloniki; urban greening; urban resilience
© Maria Karagianni. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.