An urban initiative for the vacant storefronts of Athens.
While most of the cities in the world lack space, the city of Athens, an urban context severely hit by the financial crisis, has 30% of its building reserve empty. The city’s ground-floor network, once the steaming engine of its urban welfare, has now become a redundant landscape of empty pocket spaces. Within this pragmatic context of decay, Traces Of Commerce is organized as an initiative aiming to bring back to a state of activity a vacant public space of Athens, Stoa Emporon (Arcade of Merchants). A dead zone in the heart of Athens city center which remained stagnant, with its small shops empty of any commercial activities for more than a decade. The vision of the initiative is the re-birth of this symbolic public space through the establishment of a productive platform with interdisciplinary synergies that opens up to the city.
Traces Of Commerce initiative first begun in May 2014 hosting twelve diverse creative collaborations who experimented on the dipole theme “old-new commerce” generating an environment of participatory activities with the engagement of local community agents into open collaborative workshops. The program launched its 2nd phase in December 2014 Under the Umbrella “New Creative Cells Of Exchange“. Following an open call for proposals, 10 shops of Stoa Emporon were assigned for free to creative start-ups and small entrepreneurial collaborations who transform the ground level of the Social Security Fund for the Merchants building into a transparent laboratory of creativity.