Kapani Market finds its identity

28 March 2017
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Kapani Market finds its identity through design-thinkingWith the support Design for Europe, KEPA, Design Council and a whole set of stakeholders join forces to give Thessaloniki’s oldest market Kapani a new identify and a new renovated life.

Kapani market is the oldest market in Thessaloniki. Located at the heart of the city centre, the market hosts a whole array of shops selling from fish, meat and vegetables to homeware, clothing or flowers.

Most of the stalls are run by individual owners and family businesses. Throughout the 20th century Kapani was the central and most crowded marketplace in Thessaloniki, and it constitutes an iconic place in the city. However, Kapani seemed to be facing a less gleaming future. Since early 2000s and particularly since the crisis, Kapani has experienced an important deterioration: dramatic drop of shoppers attracted by big supermarkets, infrastructure problems (leakages, sewing) or the presence of illegal sellers (illegal cigarettes, phones and drugs). This development contrasts strongly with the improvements in neighbouring buildings and businesses.

Aware of the challenges faced not only by Kapani but also by other similar urban areas in the city, KEPA and the municipality of Thessaloniki started exploring solutions already in 2015. A project was envisaged aimed at creating an urban incubator area in the traditional markets of Thessaloniki. However, the project could not be accomplished due to lack of funding. We had to wait until October 2016 to put in place the first pilot thanks to the financial support of Design for Europe and the help provided by our partner Design Council. Together we decided to launch a pilot for the regeneration of a particular urban market, Kapani, using design-thinking methodology. To us it was very clear that none of the problems faced by the market could be tackled in an individual or stand-alone manner. The regeneration of the market was not just a question of big infrastructure investments —already many examples of fruitless infrastructure projects— or an intervention by a single entity such as the municipality. The project needed a holistic and human-centered approach, able to understand the bigger context and to offer meaningful, long-term solutions to all stakeholders. This is why we decided to use design.

KEPA together with designers Donald Hyslop and Victoria Lee led the pilot project, whose first phase run from October 2016 to January 2017. Partners also included the municipality of Thessaloniki and its team of 100 Resilient Cities, Professionals Association of the Traditional Markets, Youthnest and Creativity Platform. Three months, two study visits, two co-creation workshops and many hours of co-creation and hard work later, today Kapani has not only an integrated long-term regeneration strategy but also a new identity to start building a brilliant future on. The strategy includes short-term actions ‘Identity for Kapani Market’ (completed), a medium-term strategy ‘Business Improvement District (BID)’ and a long term integrated strategy. As already said, phase 1 has been completed. Kapani found its new identity through a co-creation process involving owners, businessmen, shoppers, institutions and tourists. The new logo was developed by a graphic designer working in Kapani and it was chosen by the public through a social media campaign.

The second phase of the strategy should start soon. The first phase, the creation and launch of the new logo, gathered a very strong public support as well as a remarkable media coverage, with more than 100 articles in newspapers, other media (“New logo for Kapani” in MakThes online newspaper here, “K means: The Kapani market is regenerating” in Athens Voice online newspaper here, ) and TV coverage (interview to head of KEPA EU projects department Angeliki Barakli in the TV programme “Ready Business” in SKY channel, here). More than 350 people attended the launching event on 5 January that we organised together with all our partners. The new identity only represents the start of the journey for Kapani. However, it has laid the foundations for a successful continuation, namely, the commitment of all stakeholders around a common project. With no doubt, this has been possible through design methodology.

More information about the project: Ms Angeliki Barakli, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact BEDA  Koloniënstraat 56, 1000 Brussels (Belgium) t. (+32) 2 217 39 77  f. (+32) 2 217 99 72
CoFunded CEPEU

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