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Famagusta Avenue Garage
City/Region : Deryneia Municipality , Cyprus

“Famagusta Avenue Garage” is a bi-communal space in Famagusta avenue in Deryneia Municipality, Cyprus, next to the crossing point between the two sides, to be used from both communities for common actions, innovation, gatherings and events. Formally a car mechanic garage, a local family donated the unused space towards community use. The aim is to make it functional, so as to host as many events as possible and showcase to the greater public the potential and dream of a community space for innovation, trust building, collaboration, creativity, entrepreneurship, dialogue, learning, food & drink, networking and entertainment, knowledge and experience sharing.

Agendas addressed
Public spaceSocial inclusion and integration
Pathways followed
  • Involve citizens through participatory implementation
  • Encourage local private and civic engagement
  • Promote social innovation supporting inclusion
  • Nurture a sharing economy
Context
One of our events.

Deryneia Municipality is a small city of 8,000 habitants, with 75% of our territory and all our 2,5km coastal line occupied by the Turkish troops, since 1974. Deryneia Municipality was connected to the ghost city of Famagusta through Famagusta avenue, which has opened for circulation only 9 months ago, through a crossing point. Deryneia municipality is an agri-cultural municipality with a strong tradition of cultural creation and innovative approaches in several issues. Acting only in the 25 percent of our land is a major problem for us, our citizens and the companies that function in Deryneia, in all levels. With the implementation of Famagusta Avenue Garage as a bi-communal space, new prospects could rise concerning entrepreneurship, collaboration between cultural and sport associations, companies, scientists, students, community workers and more.

In Action
The space after the renovation and the voluntary work.

A participatory approach was adopted in the development and implementation of the action. With the help of an external funding body, an NGO was initially hired to carry out an outreach programme. With this outreach, the interests of the community were identified, and a steering committee was established to coordinate the action. The committee consisted of local citizens from both sides (Greekcypriots and Turkishcypriots) as well as people from other cities with relevant expertise. Artists, members of the municipal council, representatives from various NGO’s, women's associations, sports clubs, retired people associations, were involved in this committee. The committee consists of 15 people, each of which representing institutions with large members and different backgrounds. Hence, the committee is representative of the local community and their interests. In fact, the committee is not only representing the local community but regularly consults with the local community through their own organizations to ensure active participation in the action.  

 

The transformative action that is implemented consists of creating a community space at a formerly car mechanic garage, which is located at Famagusta Avenue in Deryneia, once a central and lively street that connected Deryneia and Famagusta. The Garage community space now aims to restore Famagusta Avenue’s history of connection and collaboration with the inclusion and civic participation of local citizens from all backgrounds under these themes:  

 

•           İnnovation

•           Collaboration

•           Creativity

•           Dialogue 

•           Learning

•           Entrepreneurship

•           Food & drink

•           Spontaneous encounters

•           Networking; entertainment; celebration

•           Knowledge, experience and ideas sharing

•           Meeting and greeting old and new friends

 

Under these themes, 11 events were organized and they brought together more than 1000 locals. Alongside these events, the space is also used on a more regular basis by the community. There is now weekly gathering of musicians, artist groups and women groups, young entrepreneurs, individuals whereby ideas are generated, needs are identified and future events, workshops and trainings are designed.  

Results
One of the many meetings of the steering committee.

The action organized 11 events and social gatherings in which more than 1000 locals participated. All events and gatherings were organized through voluntary efforts of local citizens which indicates the local and private civic engagement. Events and gatherings were planned and organized through several consultation meetings with various segments of the local communities. This made it possible to develop events that combined individual interests with public events and gatherings so that the boundaries between the public and private were merged through the action. All of the events and gatherings were also attended by members of the Turkish Cypriot community of the region, who were not involved to the civic life of the region before. Around 500 Turkish Cypriot locals took part in the events of the action. Apart from their participation in the events, they volunteered with the organization of the events as the active members of the steering committee of the action.  This is an indication of successful inclusion of an important segment of the society that was not part of the civic life before the action. 

Apart from this, various women groups participated in the action and took part in the organization of events and gatherings. Among the 1000 participants, 500 of them were women from various age groups and backgrounds. This increased the level of participation of women within the civic life of the city. 

Impact

Through housing various social events and gatherings, one Greek Cypriot and one Turkish Cypriot women group collaborated for an entrepreneurship project and were successful in their funding application. Through this project there will be employment opportunities for 4 locals and 20 women will be able to benefit from capacity building trainings regarding employability. This collaboration has become an example for other women of the region with new entrepreneurship ideas. Apart from this collaboration, action enabled 15 youth from various backgrounds to develop project ideas through which they can organize and provide training opportunities for more than 100 other youngsters in the city. The impact can be measured by the number of the events organized in the space, by the number of the people attending those events, by the number of people crossing the crossing point between both sides, at the days and hours of the events, by creating a questionnaire aiming to explore the impact that this space has had on the locals.

Challenges and lessons learned
The space after the action and the voluntary work.

The effort bringing people together from different backgrounds (social, religious, ethnic, educational etc), to work under the same roof, was not easy. A lot of effort, organization, planning, patience and persistence was needed, in order to start this initiative and begin delivering results. There has to be respect to each individual’s and organization’s differences, abilities, beliefs, uniqueness and willingness to combine all these into something common in favour of the community. Moreover, the language issue had to be dealt with - something which was necessary, so that no participant would feel excluded due to his/her different language.

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Contact

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
European Secretariat

Leopoldring 3
79098 Freiburg
Germany

Tel.: +49 (0) 761 – 368 92 0
Fax: +49 (0) 761 – 368 92 19

E-mail: info@sustainablecities.eu
Website: www.sustainablecities.eu

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