Excursions to Thessaloniki

The one-week excursions take place annually to both Thessaloniki and Hannover. During the excursions, urban and regional planning projects are visited (e.g. historic city centers, start-ups and pop-up stores, urban planning offices) and thematic tours are organized on the annual focus topics (e.g. real-labs, vacancy management projects).

Excursion 2023 to Thessaloniki

 „Urban and regional development in Thessaloniki (Greece) and the future of the (inner) city centre of Thessaloniki“

From 1 October to 6 October 2023, 19 students from Leibniz University Hannover (LUH) took part in a six-day excursion to Thessaloniki (Greece). The excursion took place as part of the DAAD-funded university partnership “FutureCentres”. On the topic of “Urban and regional development in Thessaloniki (Greece) and the future of the city centre”, the excursion was organised and led by Prof. Dr Rainer Danielzyk and Dr Nora Mehnen.

Many different facets of this lively and unique city were discovered. The first day started with a short city tour by Nikos Kalogirou (Prof. emeritus of the AUTh) at the Roman Forum via Aristotle Square. The tour ended at the riverside promenade. On the second day of the excursion, Loukas Triantis, Assistant Professor at Aristotle University, gave a lecture on the planning system in Greece. The lecture was followed by three student presentations on Thessaloniki’s history, urban development and public transport in Thessaloniki. On the same day, the Elliniko Metro Depot was visited. There, the group was shown the headquarters of the autonomous metro. On the third day of the excursion, the group met with employees of the Resilient Office Thessaloniki on a municipal vineyard, where there used to be a car park. Afterwards, the head of the city’s development agency (Major Development Agency), Lazarus Panagiotidis, spoke about current problems in the city. The group then discussed the future of the city with Katerina Danadiadou, Head of the Urban Planning Department of the City of Thessaloniki. The place-based approach, spatial policy and citizen participation of the Heinrich Böll Foundation were presented during a visit to its office on Aristotle Square. On the fourth day, the students worked in groups to reflect on the current situation of the city and develop possible solutions in the areas of mobility, tourism, student life and blue and green infrastructure. After the workshop, they took an audio tour of the most important places in the city. On the fifth day, a presentation was given at the Macedonian Metropolitan Region on regional development funding, programmes and projects. René Wildangel, journalist and historian, then gave a guided tour of the historic centre of Thessaloniki, telling a lot about the history of the city and making references to the present. The “Mediterranean Cosmos” shopping centre was also visited, where one of the managing directors explained the dynamics of the business, the impact on the region and the problems during the pandemic. Finally, on the sixth day, a visit was made to the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, which is a testimony to the rich and diverse history of the region, and a short reflection session was held at the end. At the end of this excursion, students see Thessaloniki not just as a city on a map, but as a dynamic entity navigating the complexities of history, urban planning and sustainability. Challenges remain, from legal hurdles to pressure from international investment, but the city’s commitment to carbon neutrality, innovative infrastructure and community engagement provide a promising foundation for the city’s future.

Impressionen der Exkursion