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Athenian Experience: Citizen-Engaging Platform SynAthina

Specialists of Vilnius city municipality administration Ernesta Vaišvilaitė and Marius Kurlavičius attended the event in Athens during which SynAthina platform was presented. The platform serves as a tool for city dwellers to submit proposals or projects and thus improve their city, make it more beautiful and solve city-related problems they encounter. The good practice of Athens was shared with other European municipalities: the SynAthina team helps authors of viable and promising projects meet with potential sponsors, volunteers, companies or knowledge centres which implement projects of similar nature.

The platform was developed and launched in Athens. The selected projects are funded by the municipality of Athens. According to the representatives of the platform team, it is an excellent way to involve city dwellers and local entrepreneurs in local governance and to cooperate thus improving mutual understanding. The platform certainly helps resolve issues which are relevant to the city and contributes to the improvement of living conditions and the surrounding environment on the whole. As the organisers of the event noted, since 2013 when the website of the platform was developed, as many as 3,457 projects of various scope have been offered.

The selected projects most often significantly improve the life in the city. The SynAthina team closely cooperates with the municipality of Athens, continuously informs residents of the good practice of implemented projects, for instance, of revised regulations or simplified procedures in municipality.

“We are delighted that Athens is not indifferent to new ideas. We hope to put the best ideas in practice in Vilnius and maintain relationship with the project team and have an effective cooperation in the future. Critical part of the program is single platform designed for the promotion of submission of new projects. One more constituent of the project which is no less interesting is open call events. This is a good way to discover viable projects and prompt faster resolution of small bureaucratic problems. The project is open and accessible to everyone,”  Marius Kurlavičius, specialist of the Strategic Planning and Budget Division, said.

The two specialists of Vilnius municipality also noted a few weaknesses of the project: it lacks more specific future programme – well-planned strategic objectives would help define a clear-cut direction.

“Participation of the public in this programme is very important; for this reason, in our view, more focus should be put on publicity of the website,” Ernesta Vaišvilaitė, specialist of the  Electronic Services and Processes Division, added.

According to the specialists of the capital city municipality having attended the presentation in Athens, as the final result demonstrates, all in all, the SynAthina initiative has been successful, and its team has been exemplary.

For more on the platform SynAthina visit https://www.synathina.gr/en

Marketing and Communication Division, vrt@vilnius.lt