Journal
Modifier 20 December 2022
by CHIARA LUCCHINI - UIA EXPERT

Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T. journal no.2

water trucks drawings
Schools imagining the future of the network
Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T. interprets Hadrian Aqueduct as a vehicle to reveal local cultural capital, tangible and intangible heritage, natural and man-made resources. Water is put at the center of the revitalization of local communities, as the re-introduction of the roman monument into city life becomes a collective sense-making process. With water becoming a cultural heritage ambassador, introducing a new narrative concerning the monument creates positive momentum for the improvement of local wellbeing, in two main ways: by proposing to engage people in the co-governance of their natural resource and heritage branding, cultivating a sense of community; by developing quality green spaces, accessible to all. In this second journal these aspects will be discussed mainly under the perspectives of the public procurement process, the engagement of the local community in the establishment of a new institution, the metropolitan upscale of the initiative and the role Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T. can play in the enlargement of the local governance system and in the drafting of a large-scale territorial strategy.
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Executive summary

Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T. interprets Hadrian Aqueduct as a vehicle to reveal local cultural capital, tangible and intangible heritage, natural and man-made resources. Water is put at the center of the revitalization of local communities, as the re-introduction of the roman monument into city life becomes a collective sense-making process. With water becoming a cultural heritage ambassador, introducing a new narrative concerning the monument creates positive momentum for the improvement of local wellbeing, in two main ways: by proposing to engage people in the co-governance of their natural resource and heritage branding, cultivating a sense of community; by developing quality green public spaces, accessible to all. 

Within this framework, three main domains operationalise the project’s objectives and have guided the implementation process: Heritage Commons, Water Commons and Community Network. Far from being separated these frameworks for action intertwine and relate one another: during the last months the delivery of some specific work packages (i.e. the activation of the data platform), the expansion and further advancement in the engagement strategy, the prosecution of the urban regeneration procurement process start up, have shown very well the multiple and multilayered relationships that link them. As many different dimensions integrate and intertwine (cultural, social, environmental, economic aspects have strong correlation), the initiative puts an accent on commoning and citizens’ empowerment, with water as the connecting point between heritage and community, physical and intangible actions, symbolic values and emerging vocations, sustainable uses of resources and resilient urban development. 

In this second journal these aspects will be discussed mainly under the perspectives of the public procurement process, the engagement of the local community in the establishment of a new institution, the metropolitan upscale of the initiative and the role Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T. can play in the enlargement of the local governance system and in the drafting of a large-scale territorial strategy. Finally an analysis of the seven UIA challenges implementation is provided, highlighting the most relevant aspects concerning the “state of the art” of the process, and reporting about the next steps foreseen for the prosecution of the initiative. 

Heritage commons, water commons, community network

As far as the activation of heritage commons is concerned, Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T. builds upon tangible and intangible dimensions of heritage. In particular these last 12 months have been used by the partnership to explore them working on data collection and creation with the delivery of one relevant output of the project: the digital archive. The establishment of a digital tool combining institutional (technical and research based) and everyday knowledge (oral and written history, grassroots memories, individual experience, etc.), collecting, organizing and systematizing raw material into an open access platform has been undertaken since the project's early stages. Especially in the beginning this process went beyond content collection and production, working as a significant and useful opportunity to activate the local network of stakeholders (1).

Guided by the Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Man (MedINA), which supervised the assemblage of oral history testimonies (on the relationship between residents, water and the aqueduct), historic and archaeological documents (contents coming from official archives), the archive has been designed as a digital platform lasting beyond the UIA financed project duration. The archive sees Halandri as its main thematic horizon, and its people as the main driver for the management, enrichment and development of the platform. With the local community to own and guide it, the archive is brought about as a cultural and educational action that reflects on the past to help understand the present. The goal is that the knowledge collected in the archive can become a common ground for the development of policies and actions that promote environmental sustainability, cultural creation, social inclusion, democratic dialogue and solidarity.

Digita archive front page
Digital archive front page as it appears today - https://www.archalandri.gr/

The Local Archive as a content and institution was built from scratch, and the definition of its features and main characters came out from the reflection on a number of questions: "How can an archive collect all kinds of testimony on the past of Halandri but also respond to the contemporary needs of the local community? How can the local system make use of the content, and at the same time enrich it including its "voices"? How can the archive support an educational community, offer scientific validity but also to be easy to use and accessible to the general public? How can the archive be updated and renewed in the long run? How can it be participatory and at the same time sustainable?"

This fruitful conversation has led to the creation of a dynamic digital archive, structured as an open system that can be enriched with new material and organized into individual specific or thematic archival collections, facilitating the production of content. In the easy-to-use database of the OMEKA (2) system, copies of documents of all kinds (texts, images, audiovisuals, etc.), original digital works and secondary literature relating to topics of local interest are collected, classified and made accessible. Archival material can refer to the past (history) as well as the present (cultural heritage) and convey the perspective of the scientific community, local society and civil society. The objective is that the interested party can find and relate traditional testimonies (official documents, newspaper articles, photographs, maps, etc.) with oral testimonies of residents, interviews and texts of researchers, and cultural material of local groups.
The archive has been designed to offer documented information in an understandable and attractive way for the general public. The online platform that hosts it also includes digital multimedia narratives ("stories") that the local community "writes" by opening a dialogue with its contents. It includes material on the history of Hadrian's Aqueduct, as a water and cultural resource, on the relationship of the inhabitants with this (almost) invisible monument and, more generally, with past and present aspects of the water element in their area. 

OMEKA archival system
The  database organized through the OMEKA system - https://www.archalandri.gr/

On May 2022, during the second edition of the Hidrant Festival, the local archive data platform  was officially and publicly launched. Having the archive online, and testing its use by the enlarged community of practices confirmed the initial idea of not secluding its content only to water or Hadrian related topics, but to imagine (and implement) the archive as a wider permanent repository of collective memories embracing the entire territory of Halandri. To proceed in this direction, and evaluate its feasibility, the ongoing conversation is exploring the sustainability of the platform beyond the project duration. The model currently under study imagines:

  • BOARD/COMMUNITY. Establishing a board engaging local organizations to feed contents and initiatives, but also to grant continuity and plan for strategic development. The board could already count on a number of individuals and organizations that supported the archive in its start up, but the idea is to imagine that as space which could be further expanded. The initial nucleus of the Community will be established in the framework of Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T.: through consultation processes, the interested parties will co-sign a Memorandum of Cooperation for its activation. The Community will proceed with the development of the Organization which will specify the common principles, policy procedures and objectives of its work. The "archive community" is intended as a collective management body of the archive: its purpose will be the maintenance and renewal of the digital collections of the archive, their public presence on the website, as well as the implementation of actions related to the history, collective memory and cultural heritage of Halandri.
  • STAFF. Employing a handful of structured workers to grant the scientific consistency of future activities, the operability, the update and the expansion of the platform. Managing the relationship between the archive, the local community, the scientific community and civil society (school communities, local associations, artistic groups, cultural or scientific bodies, etc.) will be part of its role. On top of that, the facilitation of cooperative networks and cultural events to feed the local archive with new material, will be a way to open up a space for dialogue, reflection and creativity, in order to feed the ongoing collective sense making process about the local cultural identity.
  • FINANCING. Outlining the mechanisms through which the archive could receive funds by the City of Halandri and other public (or private) cultural institutions interested in supporting local memories and cultural heritage (i.e. the Ministry of Culture). In this sense a business and operativity model of the archive has to be prepared, in order to assess the needs and the financial dimensions that have to be taken into account.
     

Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T. intertwines its intangible components (water commons, community engagement, new emerging culture related to water and sustainability, etc.) with the physical regeneration of concrete and specific spots in the territory. These have been appointed to become places gathering activities, people, networks and relations that spread cultural capital throughout the city along with the water supply. The creation of a new water infrastructure intertwines with site specific urban regeneration processes that will bring to the realization of 8500 sqm of new public spaces (with intervention areas in the urban fabric including, between others, the Hadrian aqueduct reservoir and roman wells, the Rematia stream banks, 4 natural/cultural nodes defined through participatory processes). The construction of approximately 5 km of new water network system (pipes) combines with the procurement of 2 mobile water tank trucks, that will be used to reach those areas that will not be in direct connection with the new water network. 

According to the application form, the foreseen pathway bringing to the start of the public procurement process imagined the delivery of all the studies connected to the regeneration process by the beginning of march 2021. Hence the procurement and construction process was to start the following month (april 2021), and be completed by june 2023. In spite of the foreseen timing, since the early stages of Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T. the MUA highlighted some critical aspects that could have undermined an effective implementation of the public procurement process (and thus compromise the actual finalization of the initiative). 

The first issue is related to the complexity (bureaucratic, administrative, legal) of making public decisions in Greece, with a consequent production of long delays, the expansion in length of processes both at local and at national level, and the reduced capacity of MUAs to effectively control the process. In this sense the approval in February 2021 of the urban regeneration project by Halandri city council represented just the first step of a longer series of ratifications and decisions that had to be made by the central State bodies. With the first approval of the studies received from the Ministry of Environment, then the collection of permissions continued with the Ministry of Internal Affairs ratifying the correctness and legality of the decision made at local level. The process further continued with a decision made by the Ministry of Culture on the technical proposal (complemented with the request of some revisions), and a second approval by the Ministry of Internal Affairs concerning the new road scheme (in this case too, with the request of further adjustments to the proposal). This cycle took almost 9 months during which the MUA couldn’t actually proceed with the procurement process, as the basic technical documents were still under discussion. 

As far as the procurement process is concerned, long lasting and complex approval processes have historically characterized the Greek public procurement system, where a plethora of statutory bodies are involved in controlling and guiding the contracting authorities (3): in 2014, the Greek government implemented a new law (law 4281/2014), which consolidated the vast array of regulations on procurement into a single framework covering virtually all legal aspects of the procurement environment (4). Currently, the legislation concerning public procurement is mainly contained in Law 4412/2016, published in the Government Gazette of 8 August 2016. With this law, the 2014 Public Contracts Directive and the 2014 Utilities Contracts Directive were transposed into national legislation after the expiry of the period for implementation (5). As with the legal system, institutional responsibilities have traditionally been diffuse, although efforts have been made toward greater centralisation. In 2011, the government established the Hellenic Single Public Procurement Authority (SPPA) to be the primary procurement organ (6). The General Secretariat for Public Works (GSPW) in the Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism is responsible for public works procurement and public services contracts relating to public works, as well as for the regional authorities (7). It represents the administrative organ and hence supervises the construction activity in the country. As far as compliance is concerned, the Administrative Authority of Public Contracts is the institution in charge. It is responsible for the supervision, control, and conduct of the tendering processes and conclusions of public contracts, as well as to ensure the compliance with the Greek and European legislation.

This layering of authorities, responsibilities and tasks, represents a second and even more critical issue, as tender mechanisms and the way the tendering is operated/practiced by local contractors can be muddled, with procedures tending to discourage the introduction of changes in the customary trajectories. Some characteristics of the Greek tendering process play a key role in this sense, with critical implications. One of those relates to the principle of most economically advantageous tender - determined based on the price or the cost, using a cost-effectiveness approach method, and/or possibly including the optimal value for money - the award of contracts is usually based on (8). As far as public works are concerned, this framework has implications with the most common routine of tender applicants to present bids with high discount rates. This practice (producing at times discounts overcoming the 50% or more of the economic value of the tender) may easily have detrimental effects on the quality of the output, both in terms of effectiveness in the fulfillment of the given tasks, and/or in the actual completion of the assigned tasks in schedule. Finally this issue can have direct effects on the risk of bankruptcy for building contractors, and the consequent interruption of the building sites. To overcome this condition, and absorb exaggerated discounts, the city of Halandri has operated in the direction of expanding the initial economic value of the tender for the urban regeneration process (and consequently, mobilizing extra economic resources).  

Using public procurement as a means to introduce innovations and promote change is one of the key principles promoted by the EU Urban Agenda (9), and a core content at the center of the successful implementation of URBACT and UIA programmes. Wise and strategic use of public procurement can significantly increase the positive impact of public authorities on their social, economic and environmental objectives. When procurement strategies are well aligned in an overall management strategy, procurement has the potential to contribute as a catalyst at all levels of governance. The recently delivered Action Plan on Innovative and Responsible Public Procurement underlines the strong relationship between local policy targets and the public procurement process: building a Procurement Strategy and managing strategic procurement is needed in order to ensure that public procurement practices are aligned with the city’s broader goals, implying that public procurement is no longer seen as a job to be done by the purchasers, but rather a tool for implementing various policy priorities.

To introduce novelties into their procurement strategies and processes (social procurement, circular procurement, procurement of innovation, joint purchases and cross-border procurement) is not an easy task for MUAs, with public authorities facing problems, issues and challenges in multiple areas such as achieving EU Green Deal goals, stimulating Small- and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), pushing the economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic, circular economy transition and fighting unemployment. As for the Greek case many public authorities still procure and select suppliers based on the lowest price, resulting in outmoded solutions for the problems that present themselves. Very often the diversity of problems is accompanied by a lack of knowledge on innovative procurement tools among public authorities (at the different levels) and how to use these tools effectively to address challenges. In Halandri this gap is quite clear, with the Municipality bringing about the procurement of the public works for the transformation of 8500 sqm of new public spaces.  The urban regeneration project implementation actually goes far beyond the building site per se: it is in fact closely connected to an overall strategy of sustainability, cultural and societal shift (in the use and management of the water resource), and cultural heritage reuse and valorization. On the other hand, it requires a high technical and management capacity to be put in play by the building contractor, given the complexity and innovativeness of the urban solution imagined by TPA Architects for Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T. 

In order to introduce these principles into the procurement process, and take a position in the European debate concerning strategic public procurement, in march 2022 the Municipality of Halandri approved the tender documents for the urban regeneration process including in the requirements for eligibility the ISO SA8000 certification. The Social Accountability SA8000 standard is among the world’s leading social certification program, with a system of standard and certifications providing a framework for organizations of all types, in any industry, and in any country to conduct business in a way that is fair and decent for workers and to demonstrate their adherence to the highest social standards (10). This request represented a detour in the ordinary trajectory of the tendering processes in Greece, and caused a contest in the Hellenic Single Public Procurement Authority (SPPA) by a contractor with regard to the tender documentation. More specifically, the appeal was against the decision that each potential bidder must provide a social responsibility certificate. Apparently started by a group of contractors lacking the requirements to obtain a SA 8000 certification, the appeal actually blocked the tendering process, and the attempts of the municipality to argue its position in front of SPPA didn’t work out. Hence between May and June 2022 the MUA proceeded to activate a new tender without any extra terms or certifications. Currently in its final stages the “traditional” tendering process brought to the collection of five initial bids during summer 2022: with only three bids declared eligible, the MUA could establish a first negotiation concerning technical requirements that brought the second offer to be finally accepted. As the first bid was initially identified as the most economically advantageous offer, the Municipal Financial Committee of the city of Halandri followed the custom foreseen by the National Law on Procurement, inviting the potential winning contractor to discuss the technical issues of the tender. The outcome of this discussion was that the bidder understood to lack the technical capacity for effectively bringing about the required tasks. As a consequence the first bid was officially withdrawn, and the MUA could start a new conversation with the second bidder.With an expected time for contract signature in January 2023, the start of the building sites is foreseen for the beginning of february. 

If the attempt to innovate the tendering process introducing a higher and different standard faced the resistance of local companies (unwilling to incorporate in their action new approaches and values), it is also to be said that the Authority appointed for accompanying and controlling the tender processes (SPPA) was also discouraging this novelty, with just one commissioner out of three in favor with the introduction of the SA 8000 certification. Possibly one of the factors that could have contributed to this negative outcome is the limited spread of the SA 8000 between Greek construction companies (11), and the consequent reduced arena of potential bidders that could actually apply to the tender.  

procurement process timeline
Procurement process main phases and timing

 

With already two editions of the Hidrant Festival, a number of activities engaging schools, students and families, public meetings, on site guided tours, the launch of the local archive, etc. the conversation about water as commons, wise management of resources and civic engagement in local services delivery can certainly be considered in its advanced stages. The shared understanding of water as a commons is a key (rather critical) issue of the ongoing conversation and it refers to all aspects (treatment, distribution, consumption, etc.), with potentially conflictual implications on public management models, privatization policies, emerging solidarity attitudes, but also with direct implications in the possible governance and operation models imagined for the new institution in the making. Key in this sense are Hadrian water's unique features, bringing the discourse on its exploitation in a middle ground between different domains - with regulatory, legal, administrative and market related issues (12).

Costas Gerolymatos introducing the workshop
Costas Gerolymatos and Iorgos Sachinis discussing during the october workshop . photo courtesy City of Halandri

The Municipality’s task to establish a “water community”, has been implemented as a multilevel job combining the engagement and empowerment of different actors, and the establishment of a new shared water culture, and is proceeding in the direction of better defining how the Water Solidarity Community will operate. During the last months the attention has been focused on the identification of the most suitable legal and administrative frameworks, the definition of a governance structure and the negotiation about roles and duties for institutions and public bodies, in order to better frame the proactive participation of citizens in the organization and management of this new water service. With a foreseen governance based on a horizontal multi-stakeholder cooperative approach, Halandri aims at establishing a model in which decision-making works on a collective base, notwithstanding the prevailing hierarchical governance models characterizing water companies and many other things at local and national level. 

The initial framework foresees three main pillars/actors as the entities responsible to keep the process going: 1) the public sector (Municipality, EYDAP); 2) NGOs and cooperatives, etc. as facilitators of the process; 3) the civil society (including those related to environmental protection, history, school, etc.) to take ownership and protagonize. One of the biggest challenges comprise the legal and institutional framework pointing at the role and prerogatives of EYDAP, exploring the current Greek rules and regulations concerning water to understand gaps, space of maneuver, barriers and potential to generate new approaches and proactively include the local community. Beyond this, the work to convince people to engage and to be involved is a second element to pay careful attention: proactivity, interest and capacity to have a say and gain power in the urban political process cannot be simply produced by design. It has to be fed and grown as the initiative goes on, tailored to the local community and generated as an outcome of the process (not as a prerequisite). 

An experts' conversation
Anne Le Strat and the local partnership discussing about the new instition - photo courtesy City of Halandri  

After the initial opening of the discussion, the necessary dissemination activities and the introduction of the topic into the local debate, the Municipality has started surveying the interest of citizens for this new service, with a current record of about 60 individuals expressing their preliminary interest to join. The process actually got into the thick of things last October, during a public meeting where the presentation of foreign study cases framed a workshop session for the Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T. partnership. With the support of Anne Le Strat (13)  and Edurne Bagué (14) the partnership worked on the definition of a proposal drafting the architecture of this new institution, exploring the mechanisms for citizens participation and clarifying some conceptual/operational nodes. 

  • WATER DISTRIBUTION IN A NUTSHELL: the distribution of water will be organized in two ways, through the new pipelines system and through the water tanks trucks. The first system implies a direct linkage with EYDAP’s (water provider) network, as those connected will be in a customer-provider relation according to the existing legislation and regulations concerning water provision. In the second option (trucks) users liaise with the Municipality for all aspects concerning: water supply, tariffs and payments.
  • TARIFF: the tariff for the non-drinkable water will be lower than that of the drinkable water. There will be incentives, discounts or special tariffs, calculated on a “proper/wise use” standard, to encourage the use of the non-potable water network.  
  • ROLES AND ACTORS IN PLAY: As far as the different stakeholders are concerned, responsibilities, field of action and prerogatives have been outlined.
  1. Municipality of Halandri. It is responsible for delivering water from the Hadrian Aqueduct by water tracks in areas of Halandri distant from the underground network. The municipality covers the delivery cost (wages, transport costs etc.) in full, and it also delivers for free to the citizens the water tanks for collecting water. This mechanism is kept active and tested until the end of Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T. initiative (and after that further discussed).  The Municipality is the only “customer” of EYDAP liable for the payment of the bill that corresponds to the use of water through the water trucks. In the process of stabilizing the new institution the Municipality is also providing financial, legal, institutional and technical support to Halandri Residents’ Hadrian Community. 
  2. EYDAP. The water company is responsible for the management of the water of Hadrian Aqueduct. It is also responsible for the construction, technical development, maintenance, management and function of the non-potable water network. Given its role and obligations established by the national law, EYDAP is also the sole authority to decide about the water tariffs and to issue bills for the non-potable water, according to the existing regulatory framework. On the other hand EYDAP has not got any right by law to restrict the use of water to those connected directly with its network. 
  3. Halandri Residents’ Community. The community is constituted on local bases (municipal limits), it consists of residents (they may be users or not of the Hadrian waters) and citizens’ groups (associations, or other). At the moment the direct participation of the Municipality in the Community is still a matter of debate.
  4. The citizens cannot be the manager of the network and/or the water resource. Those who will be directly connected to the new water infrastructure will not have a say in the definition of water tariffs or on imposing limits in water use. Those who receive the water from water trucks will find an agreement on cost divides and bill payments with the municipality after the end of the project. With the end of the project, the community should acquire legal status as an institution.  
  • VALUES AND AIMS. The founding principle of the Halandri Residents’ Hadrian Community is the protection and active stewardship of Hadrian Aqueduct in Halandri as water, cultural and urban resource. The general aim is to promote awareness and to foster a different culture regarding the use of water (resources), historical heritage, urban space and culture as common goods and in the frame of sustainable development, circular and social solidarity economy.  The Halandri Residents’ Hadrian Community aims at contributing to: the reintroduction of underground water resources in the everyday urban, water and environmental culture; the function of the non-drinkable water network and the new public spaces around the Hadrian Aqueduct; the highlighting of the historical and cultural value of Hadrian Aqueduct and its reintroduction in the everyday life of the city; the establishment of processes/institutions (community, networks) for the citizens’ active participation in the stewardship, enrichment and socially and environmentally optimal utilization of the natural, cultural and urban resources.  Based on this framework, as for now, the Community’s operational field of intervention will focus on: stewardship and care for the water resource and the non-potable water network; promoting of residents’ awareness through cultural and educational actions and campaigns; promoting the ownership and appropriation of the new (regenerated) green-public spaces by the local residents/users; research and delivery of proposals for the improvement, optimization and sustainability of Hadrian Aqueduct as a multi-dimensional resource; fundraising for the everyday operation of the Community; management of the water track delivery network as a public service. 
  • GOVERNANCE MODEL. The Halandri Residents’ Hadrian Community governance model corresponds to a body with legal status and two levels of decision making: a Board and the Assembly of its members. The main idea for the operational model of the community is that it has a paid staff member responsible for the everyday running and coordination of the different tasks. The members of the Community (individuals, groups or institutions) cooperate in the design, research and proposals within the margins of the community’s aims: through the establishment of working groups on specific issues, the organization will engage all those involved in/concerned/affected by an action - including other institutional bodies such as the municipality, EYDAP etc. The aim is to bring ready (and complete) proposals for deliberation and decision making to the Assembly and to the Board. 
Halandri residents community
Hadrian community of Halandri's Residents first governance system draft

 

Going metropolitan

During summer 2021 the project for the reuse of the entire track of the ancient Hadrian aqueduct takes the stage. The initiative engages the 23 km long pathway that brings the aqueduct from its origin at the edge of Parnitha mountains to its end in Dexameni square, in the Athenian neighborhood of Kolonaki. Based upon some of the prerequisites of Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T., this new endeavor upscales the UIA financed project of Halandri into an Integrated Territorial Investment proposal with strategic importance for the entire Attica region. A powerful image is guiding the public discussion around Hadrian ITI and Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T. principles and values: an artifact and the promise of its transformation are opening up multiple and multilevel conversations about water as commons, sustainability, resiliency and the capacity of a territorial system to adapt to new challenges and issues. 


Currently in its preliminary stages the Hadrian ITI is applying for European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) in the next programming period. The ITI  aims at connecting the 8 municipalities crossed by the aqueduct watershed into a development project that will build up a complex and multilayered vision embracing the entire metropolitan area. Similarly to Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T., some key issues and design principles give coherence to the ITI entire initiative. Having the same approach to urban redevelopment, both put technical aspects dealing with the creation of a new infrastructure and a new service into tension, with an aim to strengthen a culture of cooperation, solidarity and commitment of the local community. With environmental, social and economic benefits, the ITI works on green and blue infrastructures, integrating local initiatives into a wider framework. The work conducted until now on the Hadrian ITI is supporting a conversation about the capacity of an entire territorial system to become more resilient. The real challenge in this sense is to fine tune big strategies and ambitious goals with local specificities and needs. Far from being a completed project, with its ten local actions already in the spotlight and an estimated economic value ranging between 60 and 70 millions, the Hadrian ITI is in the headlines for receiving funds.

Hadrian ITI territorial framework
Hadrian ITI territorial framework - image courtesy of NMA  (New Metropolitan Attica)


 

Officially promoted by Attica Regional Authority the ITI engages EYDAP, the Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company, 8 municipalities including Athens and Halandri, and other prominent local stakeholders - including universities, public and private entities. NMA - The Region of Attica Development Organization has been appointed for the general coordination of the initiative (15): constituted in 2020 on the purpose of developing integrated projects, the agency has the responsibility to move the proposal forward, making sure that all local stakeholders are on board, communicating the initiative and inspiring more and more people to take action. Engaging and supporting the municipalities in the development of projects, NMA acts as a neutral actor, stimulating local conversations and confrontations concerning the ITI content and working for the integration of local agendas into the bigger picture.


Overlapping different jurisdictions and authorities, legal and administrative frameworks, regulations and obligations at local, regional and national level, the reuse of the aqueduct offers a perfect opportunity to put into tension the way public action is performed by institutions and bureaucratic organizations. An evolving process still in its initial stages, the regional Hadrian ITI will potentially transform the aqueduct reuse into an unprecedented attempt to approach urban issues at a larger scale: in a city where fragmentation and incremental implementation has characterized urban development (16), and where there is no metropolitan authority appointed to manage large scale strategies and supra municipal policies, the reflection started around Hadrian is on its way to become a platform for intermunicipal exchange, letting innovative practices of development and comanagement of strategies and programmes emerge. 
 

the partenrship so far
Hadrian ITI, the partnership so far - image courtesy NMA (New Metropolitan Attica)

The current state of the art of the ITI and the required steps to bring the proposal forward, further confirm the central role of the community for a successful development of the initiative. As far as upscaling is implemented, with a growing number of engaged stakeholders, a more diverse panorama of needs, requests, interests, perspectives and socioeconomic profiles of territories and communities, it becomes clearer that what is being implemented in Halandri can be a good example, but it probably represents just one of the possible reference frameworks for action. Innovation in the way supra municipal organizations interact and put solutions in play represents great opportunity for institutional redesign, the redefinition of the roles and missions of public bodies, the innovation in bureaucratic practices, the commitment of people in institutions. 

The experience ripened through Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T., unfolded the original idea to reuse the aqueduct, and is now contaminating the regional Hadrian ITI with contents, methodologies, approaches, people and organizations. With its strong upscaling potential, the experimentation in the making in Halandri could actually pave the way for further ambitious developments in the entire region, involving the other municipalities crossed by the aqueduct watershed. 
 

A test field to spot, explore and overcome barriers and constraints, Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T. can offer usable and practical knowledge to the other municipalities of eastern Attica, as much as sharing new methodological approaches and new tools. In this sense, the more recent conversation concerning the establishment of the Solidarity Community in Halandri, incorporated also the metropolitan dimension, expanding the reflection on citizens’ engagement beyond Halandri city limits. In fact, as the governance model for the local level is outlined, the emerging idea is to imagine a network model based on a two-tier structure, one on local level and another on the entire span of the Hadrian Aqueduct. This should allow for the adjustable application/formation of each (municipality’s) community: as above mentioned, the model emerging in Halandri is one of the possible ones, and fits onto the characteristics of that territorial context. Hence in order to reflect diverse local contexts and capacities and allow the other municipalities undertake action, the governance structure of Hadrian ITI has to be structured in a way that makes the practical participation of all communities feasible, open and not predetermined. The resulting framework is then imagined to have a common platform across the aqueduct’s length empowering the function and inter-operation of the different local Hadrian communities. Hence the pathway to the establishment of the Halandri Residents’ Hadrian Community can be considered as a pilot for the development of other local Hadrian communities, one piece of a larger inter-local Hadrian Network of Citizens (and Communities). 

 

Hadrian aqueduct operation body
Hadran Aqueduct Operation body: initial governance system draft

The current conversation on the operational scheme for the Halandri Residents’ Hadrian Community, combines with the definition of a preliminary scheme for the Hadrian Aqueduct’s Operation Body, and a possible operational scheme for both the local Hadrian community and the Hadrian’s Operation Body in order to outline ways of cooperation, participation and representation of citizens in both levels. This reflection on governance scalability is challenging because it tries to imagine a feasible model and function that encourages citizens’ participation at a local level while it is also productive by facilitating cooperation on a trans-municipal level. The challenge is two-fold: either to imagine the local community as a miniature of the large scale regional body, or to imagine the Hadrian Aqueduct’s Operation Body based on the needs of only one community out of the eight potentially engaged in the ITI initiative. Trying to avoid such pitfall(s) the reflection held last October 2022 came up with the suggestion for a Network of Citizens and Communities as the platform for cross-local cooperation around Hadrian Aqueduct as the in-between body among the local and the regional levels of Hadrian communities and function. The digital platform of the Hadrian communities’ network, which has to be built during the Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T. project is then seen as the opportunity to initiate and facilitate the creation of the (broader) Network of Citizens (and Communities), by providing a common space of participation to everyone interested in the Hadrian Aqueduct and across municipal borders. The Network of Citizens and Communities will be informal (without legal status) but it will represent the local Hadrian communities in the Hadrian Aqueduct Operation Body which will deal with the administration of the Hadrian Aqueduct as a whole. Therefore the Hadrian Network of Citizens (and Communities) will have to find a way to decide who will be representing it to the Operation Body when this is created. 

As this line of thinking is still in its making, it is very important that the relationship between the local Hadrian Community, the Hadrian Citizens’ Network and the regional Hadrian Operation Body is highlighted as one relevant piece of the process, becoming a field of cooperation between the different parties in play. In order to be effective, the collective (and multilevel) framing of the two trans-local bodies/networks has to be co-planned and co-designed before the time of decision making: the meanwhile implementation of Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T. can become a key factor in its successful implementation, setting the stage for new more inclusive and open governance models. 

two tiers metropolitan system
Articulating citizens' engagement at local and metropolitan level


 

Challenges and next steps

All described elements and outputs follow different trajectories and rely on different timing, rationalities, cycles of decision, responsibilities, accepted social practices (i.e. procurement timing, building timing, etc.). Achieving successful and compelling results requires combining languages, interests, scales, objectives and purposes which may seem very distant and incompatible, and this is a critical issue to be taken into account. As far as UIA 7 challenges are concerned, Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T. current state of implementation highlights strong and weak points below analyzed.

Challenge
Observation

Challenge

Leadership
Challenge level

Observations

The MUA keeps on having a strong hold on the process, and has managed to successfully proceed on many fronts (procurement, solidarity community at local level, regional/metropolitan conversation on the initiative upscaling, etc.), stimulating the partnership and the local system. Forthcoming elections on next october 2023 have to be taken into account as a possible discontinuity factor in the smooth delivery of the project. 

Challenge

Public Procurement
Challenge level

Observations

With the signature of the contract expected for January/February 2023 the procurement process enters a second phase, related to the actual operation of building sites and the implementation of the technical solution for the transformation of the public spaces. In this sense the main issues emerging at the moment relate to: 1. the fine tuning between the public spaces delivery and the new pipes delivery (as these are two separated procurements); 2. controlling the quality of outputs, granting that the foreseen technical solution is brought about; 3. putting the public offices in the condition of accompanying and managing the process. 

Challenge

Participative approach and active involvement of key local stakeholders
Challenge level

Observations

The engagement activities have focused until now on making the main contents accessible to all targets, expanding languages, tools and opportunities for the wider community. Now that a general level of awareness about the initiative has been reached, variable geometries of engagement have to be put in place, especially for what concerns the establishment of the solidarity community. In the near future in fact, the solidarity community will have to count on ambassadors and people willing to commit to the design, management and development of the service, and finally taking action in the community. 

Challenge

Cross department and integrated management and implementation
Challenge level

Observations

The forthcoming months will be crucial from this point of view, as with the official assignment of the tender big loads of cross department activities will start (i.e. financial and administrative offices, but also public works and other sectors will be involved). The characteristics of the urban regeneration project (quality of design and outputs, technical complexity, etc.) will require an extraordinary organizational, managerial and technical effort by the municipal offices to achieve a satisfactory implementation. Some reflection is already taking place in this sense and a good setting of the procurement contract might have relevant implications.

Challenge

Monitoring, evaluation and management
Challenge level

Observations

The big efforts made in the direction of ensuring the smoother start possible to the procurement phase and the advancements in the reflection concerning the water solidarity community show the commitment to a fine tuning (and a good management) of all process phases. Once the building sites will be put in place a more accurate monitoring will be required. 

Challenge

Communication with local partners and beneficiaries
Challenge level

Observations

The initial dissemination and spreading of the initiative has generated quite good results, with a satisfactory participation of residents in the Hidrant festival initiatives (including the public meeting last October 2022), a very good level of engagement of schools, families and students, and a general growth of the average awareness of citizens concerning the initiative. Now a gear has to be stepped up, as the activation of the water network will require the local community to take action on the water service.

Challenge

Scaling up
Challenge level

Observations

As extensively reported in this document, upscaling is becoming a key component of the initiative, and the local initiative has started to effectively feed the reflection at metropolitan level. Nevertheless, the level of engagement and capacity to influence the process expressed by the other municipalities is still difficult to understand, and might represent a burden in the future developments of the ITI initiative. 

The advancements in the definition of the water solidarity community layout, and the imagined rearrangements concerning the opening of some project activities to the metropolitan scale have to be ratified by an agreement between all project partners (steering committee). After that, the proper testing phase of the solidarity community functioning will be started, with a more decisive engagement of local actors and a step forward in the co-design of the institution: as for now a further engagement of schools as test yards is foreseen, and the recruiting strategy for the engagement of future ambassadors and standard bearer of the initiative is in the making. The finalization of the local archive committee and the set up of its operability and sustainability in the long run, will also be part of these advancement steps, as the local archive is seen as one of the key elements in the delivery of the water solidarity community layout. 

As above mentioned, the next months will be crucial for the procurement process, as a new phase approaches: with the signature of the contract the Municipality will finally be able to start the building sites and define in the contract with the bidder how things will be managed from the financial, organizational and technical points of view. Nevertheless, the urban regeneration project is just one of the two building sites foreseen by the initiative. The second one concerns the underground pipes infrastructures that will distribute water into a part of the city, and is in charge of EYDAP. The water company hasn’t launched the tender yet (due to general increase in pricing), and even if the required building services can be offered by a large number of local enterprises/companies, this phase shift between the two operations might have critical consequences. This is particularly true for what concerns those portions of land in which the two building sites overlap and necessarily need to be tuned in. 

 


NOTES
(1) MEDINA COORDINATED THE WORK OF CONTENT COLLECTION ENGAGING  LOCAL GROUPS, PUBLIC BODIES, SCIENTISTS AND PEOPLE WITH EXPERIENCE AND PARTICULAR KNOWLEDGE OF THE HADRIAN AQUEDUCT - CONTRIBUTION IN PARTICULAR WERE PRODÌVIDED BY THE ORAL HISTORY GROUP OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF CHALANDRI, THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE PENTELI-CHALANDRI STREAM, THE EYDAP, THE MUNICIPALITY OF HALANDRI, THE EPHORATE OF ANTIQUITIES OF EASTERN ATTICA, THE DIRECTORATE FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF MONUMENTS
(2) OMEKA IS AN OPEN-SOURCE WEB PUBLISHING PLATFORM FOR SHARING DIGITAL COLLECTIONS AND CREATING MEDIA-RICH ONLINE EXHIBITS
(3) EMMANUEL J VELEGRAKIS, “THE GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT REVIEW: GREECE”, THE LAW REVIEWS, 22 MAY 2022 (LAST VISIT - DECEMBER 2022) 
(4), (5) EUROPEAN COMMUNITY “PUBLIC PROCUREMENT – STUDY ON ADMINISTRATIVE CAPACITY IN THE EU. GREECE COUNTRY PROFILE”, 2015 (LAST VISIT - DECEMBER 2022)
(6) ITS RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDE MANAGING CENTRAL GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT OF WORKS, SUPPLIES AND SERVICES, PROVIDING POLICY ADVICE TO THE LEGISLATURE, PROVIDING GUIDANCE TO AWARDING AUTHORITIES ON THE APPLICATION OF PROCUREMENT LAW AND REGULATION, AND AUTHORIZING THE USE OF SPECIAL PROCEDURES, SUCH AS NEGOTIATED PROCEDURE WITHOUT PUBLICATION NOTICE
(7) THE MINISTRY’S RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDE THE PUBLISHING AND EVALUATION OF CALLS FOR TENDERS AND SUBMITTED OFFERS, AS WELL AS THE AWARDING OF PROCUREMENT CONTRACTS. IT ALSO MAKES LAW AND REGULATIONS PROPOSITIONS CONCERNING PUBLIC WORK CONTRACTS, AND IT FURTHERMORE PROVIDES AWARDING AUTHORITIES WITH TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS AND GUIDELINES REGARDING MANDATORY IMPLEMENTATION
(8) EMMANUEL J VELEGRAKIS, “THE GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT REVIEW: GREECE”, THE LAW REVIEWS, 22 MAY 2022 (LAST VISIT - DECEMBER 2022)
(9) URBAN AGENDA FOR THE EU, PARTNERSHIP ON INNOVATIVE AND RESPONSIBLE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT, “ACTION PLAN 2022” (LAST VISIT DECEMBER 2022)
(10) SA 8000 WAS CREATED BY SAI (SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY INTERNATIONAL) IN 1997 AS ONE OF THE FIRST SOCIAL CERTIFICATIONS
(11) IN DECEMBER 2022 THE SAI WEBSITE RECORDED A TOTAL NUMBER OF 29 SA 8000 CERTIFIED COMPANIES (ONLY 3 OUT OF 29 WORK IN THE CONSTRUCTION SECTOR)
(12) THESE ASPECT HAVE BEEN DESCRIBED IN LAST JUNE’S WEB ARTICLE “A WATER COMMUNITY IN THE MAKING” 
(13) AS CHAIRWOMAN OF EAU DE PARIS AND DEPUTY MAYOR OF PARIS IN CHARGE OF WATER AND SANITATION POLICY (2001-2014), SHE LED AN OVERALL REVAMPING OF THE WATER POLICY INCLUDING THE CREATION OF THE LARGEST PUBLIC-OWNED WATER OPERATOR IN FRANCE
(14)  RESEARCHER AT THE UNESCO CHAIR IN SUSTAINABLE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GIRONA AND HAS PARTICIPATED IN THE OAT- OBSERVATORI DE L'AIGUA DE TERRASSA  SINCE ITS CREATION
(15) FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT NMA CLICK HERE
(16)  THESE ASPECTS HAVE BEEN EXPLORED IN UIA CULTURAL H.ID.RA.N.T. ZOOM IN “THE VOICE OF HADRIAN AQUEDUCT” - EPISODE 1 “PARTNERSHIPS, INSTITUTIONS AND A NEW CULTURE OF COOPERATION”, AND EPISODE 2 “A METROPOLITAN SHIFT

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