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Long (A)Live the Green Line!

Award category
Preserved and transformed cultural heritage
You want to submit
NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS RISING STARS : concepts or ideas submitted by young talents (aged 30 or less)
Project title
Long (A)Live the Green Line!
Full concept/idea title
A new approach to the divided city of Nicosia, for the creation of a bicommunal, shared park
A border, a space, an area, a park. A green lung in the city of Nicosia against scorching Cyprus summers, and a pace of historical and cultural reappropriation for the whole island. A new space for people to mix, gather and integrate, in a diverse context and in a secure area. A biosphere for animal and human interaction in the core of the consolidated city of Nicosia, a walk between architectural and historical heritage aiming at reconnection and inclusivity for Cypriots, tourists and curious. 
Where is your concept/idea being developed or intended to be implemented in the EU?
United Nation Buffer Zone
Please provide a summary of your concept/ idea
The Cyprus dispute is a long and complicated scar in the history of the island. Younger generations are trying to overcome difficulties, but separation and years of isolation do not simplify the matter. Spatial reappropriatio of an area of the city, symbol of the division, can be a small step towards the rapprochment of the two sides. The opening of the border checkpoint in the city allows for a optimistic view towards the opening of the access into the UN Buffer Zone. As an initial stage, part of a longer and complicated process, this opening can help create a space to gather and to allow people to mix, from both communities. At the same time, it will allow cultural, historical and memory reappropriation of an area abandoned since 1974. It is a urgent action to be taken, both simbolically, but also for a functional matter: years of abandonment are causing grave damages to the historical building inside the Buffer Zone, or Green Line. This concept starts from the name "Green Line": no more a green, symbol of abandonment, but a "live green", symbol of a rebirth and a reappropriation of a place. The intervention will be minimum: the area will be left untouched, except for the consolidation and restoration works on the building, and the rest will be given as a green lung for the city, allowing biodiversity of species. The configuration of the place will that of an "archeological park": a walk amongst historical memory and a place for psychological reappropriation of the "respective other-side" of the city.
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of sustainability and how these would be met
The main objective of the project is the social sustainability: the opening of a long-disputed area will help the communities come together and mix again, giving also a signal of hope. Moreover, the cultural and historical heritage abandoned inside the Green Line will be again perceived and even used by the public, in a simple and informal way. Clearly, also environmental sustainability is achieved with the project: a new green lung in the city centre of Nicosia will help decongestion in a crowded and automobile-based city; a new urban park will provide shade and freshness in the scorching Cypriot summers; the green element, now inhabited by all species of animals, birds and insects, will create a new and unusual biosphere in the centre of the capital of Cyprus. The park will then have the function of an informal "botanical garden", a "biodiversity habitat", a "social-inclusive space". Economical sustainability is also met, stating the fact that the interventions will be minimum and very low-cost: the main aspect in the management balance of this new area will be the maintenance of the park, that, being a wild one, will be minimal. Of course, a big portion of funds will go in the restoration and consolidation of existent building: this actions, sorely needed, will be fundamental for the cultural and historical re-appropriation of the spaces in the Green Line, a crucial part of the social sustainability part of the project. 
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of aesthetics and quality of experience beyond functionality and how these would be met
The experience brought forward by this new space is unique and it does not find any equal or comparable site: a piece of land abandoned for 40 years now being given back to the citizenship in the form of a park. The new area will attract curious and tourists from all over the world, and at the same time it will allow Cypriot people to regain awareness of a part of their land and their city.  Walking again on roads that did not see human interaction for nearly 50 years will give the users a particular alienating experience at first, but it will be soon be transformed into a feeling of regain and hope for the future of the island.  Apart from the symbolic value, the aestethic and quality value of a park are beyond doubts: quality of life and quality of the places increase exponentially through the presence of greenery. In this case, this green areas will convey alse deeper meaning, and will create a new space for the city and its inhabitants: a pedagogical area to experience signs of the past and new life, both animal and human, in the present; a cultural space for interaction and gathering; a social area for events, meeting, concerts, events; a flexible space in a unique space.
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of inclusion and how these would be been met
The project is clearly based on social and communitarian inclusion. The new space is at the centre of the island, and the two communities of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots can use it to have a common ground for gathering, meeting and inclusion. Unfortunately, due to the political situation, the access must be controlled, but it is intended to be easy and always allowed. The space will be then a liveable buffer space between the communities, but used for bicommunal activities in order to facilitate the reconciliation between the two populations, long divided by the hard border. Especially the border perception, nowadays a constant feeling in Nicosia, will be modified: the streets in the proximity will not abruptly end in a cul-de-sac, but they will continue towards the new park and the other part of the city. This will modify the perception of the "cityscape": the city does not end at the border, but continue further, allowing a greater inclusion from both communities. In term of economical inclusion, the space will need great works of renovation and maintenance, thus creating job opportunities for both communities. It is intended to be a long and participative process, with the involvement of the citizens from both sides of the city, in what is known as the concept of "interactive working site" or "permanent working site": the citizens themselves will be involved in the phases of planning, construction, maintenance and activity-organization, thus creating a deep relationship between the people and the place, and allow them to feel it as part of their social "everyday panorama", and not as a border or a forgotten space as it is nowadays.
Please explain the innovative character of your concept/ idea
The project idea has no precedents: such a unique geopolitical situation cannot be compared too closely to others. Even though other actions of social inclusion and historical reappropriation have been taken in other formerly-divided cities, the particularity of this approach is that it is not intended to provide an immediate solution or a resolutive scenario for the city of Nicosia. It is a bottom-up approach, to be established through time and to be completed only when the situation is prolific. The main aim of the participative, bottom-up approach is to raise awareness in the communities about the spatial and historical heritage they could be able to perceive if a normalization of the situation is forthcoming. Avoiding a top-down approach, with a solution or a planning decided by the higher sphere of political power, will allow people to feel included and ready for any modification of the situation.  The innovation uniqueness of the proposed project is that of overturning of decision-making: from the people to the governments, from the population to the planners, and so on. The inclusivity of the decision-making process can be seen as an example for further development in the same place or in other situations in other countries.  Finally, the imagined functions in the area bring a potentially transformation impact on the city of Nicosia: from an automobile-based, crowded and dense city, to a green, sustainable and inclusive city, reaching and overtaking the example set by other European capitals and functioning itself as a place to look at for its exemplarity.
Please detail the plans you have for the further development, promotion and/or implementation of your concept/idea, with a particular attention to the initiatives to be taken before May 2022
The project aims at being built gradually and through the direct involvement of local population, in a bottom up process of decision-making. The particular political situation means that the dialogue with the central governments and the third parties involved should be continuous and bi-directional. The steps of implementation are here illustrated: June 2021: reopening of the existign checkpoint, closed in February 2020 due to the pandemic situation June-November 2021: talks and involvement of the population into the project and assessments of need, necessity, demands and suggestion from the local inhabitants, in concert with governmental actions towards the promotion of the project; this step requires a great work of survey, together with a promotion talk for the enhancement of this area f the city November 2021 - April 2022: continuation of bicommunal talks at a stakeholder level to the creation of the situation for the functioning and the acceptance of the project may 2022: opening of more checkpoints in the downtown of Nicosia for the reconnection of the two sides of the city, specifically for the continuity of the roads along the Venetian walls of the city (Paphos Gate and Athinas Boulevard) 2022-2023: restoration and consolidation works after 2024: opening fo the bicommunal park Clearly, a clear path cannot be established due to the geopolitical interest of the Cyprus dispute. Anyway, a schedule as the one presented can be envisioned for a progress in the talks and in the implementation of the planning, whatever solution will be established for the whole island.
By ticking this box, you declare that all the information provided in this form is factually correct, that the proposed concept/idea has not been proposed for the New European Bauhaus Rising Stars Awards more than once in the same category.


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