Thessaloniki has a rich history as a major hub of business and culture, from the Roman period to the Byzantine Empire. Today it is still an important metropolitan region for Greece, with an active port, a respected university, and a robust tourist industry. The city, however, has also been affected by the economic and political crises that have rocked Greece in recent years. Growing unemployment from a shrinking manufacturing sector and a lack of opportunities for young people have increased social needs while resources to provide services have decreased.
Tensions have led to the rise of extremism, riots, and civil unrest, and broken down relations between residents and public authorities. With new projects to upgrade infrastructure, officials see an opportunity to build trust and engagement with community members by involving them in planning processes. They are also using this approach to build response plans to earthquakes and other natural disasters, as well as engage new youth networks in resilience planning.
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