TNE impact case study: Eleusis - a case study of project-based learning towards environmental world views

Metropolitan College, Portsmouth School of Architecture
Collaboration type:
SDG Goals:
(11) Sustainable Cities and Communities
Greece, United Kingdom
Dr Elena Douvlou - Head of School of Architecture - Faculty of Engineering & Architecture - Metropolitan College, Greece

Background and overview of the case study

The case study refers to a project-based learning and a site field trip experience of architecture students from School of Architecture, MArch Architecture and Urbanism at Metropolitan College, Greece and Portsmouth School of Architecture, MArch Architecture Course, UK. The project involved planning the remediation and sustainable regeneration of post-industrial sites in the ancient town of Eleusina, located 20 miles outside of Athens, Greece. The area concentrates the largest density of industrial activity in the country and in the last 30 years it was considered one of the most polluted areas in the Mediterranean Sea. 

As part of the project, students were required to collaborate in multiple ways: 

  1. a joined site visit, 
  2. interviews with representatives from the Municipality, activists’ groups, and residents from the town,
  3. produce an urban analysis report that included historical, social analysis, morphological, perceptual, and detailed environmental analysis for the wider context of the town of Eleusina,  
  4. form groups in order to produce Group Strategies for the remediation and sustainable development of the area. 

The research on climate, context, history, landscape, proximity to infrastructure and facilities, as well as the Eleusina election of Cultural Capital of Europe of 2021 provided wonderful possibilities for results which were integrated into the proposals.

One of the common learning outcomes for this collaborative project was to challenge students to evaluate their own attitudes and behaviours towards the environment after working on a common site in Eleusina.  To accomplish this aspect, both student cohorts were requested to take the NEP survey (New Environmental Paradigm) to self-assess their worldview on the environment (Dunlap, et al 2000), compared the score with peers and provided critical analysis about understanding of their environmental attitudes and beliefs. Future collaborations may include the exchange of VR material prior to the site fieldtrip.

Impact and value

The aims of the design proposals reach and effect on the location of Eleusina are summarised as the following:

  • to protect and safeguard Eleusina’s cultural and natural heritage;
  • support local community with the provision of job opportunities;
  • reduce the environmental impact of industrial activity, especially the brownfield sites and the sea water pollution;
  • design inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities, especially the promenade of Eleusina which is currently occupied by industrial activities and inaccessible to the local communities;
  • design sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials, resource efficiency, mitigation, and adaptation to climate change.

The proposals have been presented to the local authorities and to the local community and have been listed for an exhibition as part of the ELEUSINA Cultural Capital of Europe (2023). The effect of the collaborative project can have a real qualitative value to the community of Eleusina, and as a ripple effect to the neighbouring communities with similar environmental issues; from the industrial activity in the area which is now slowly being displaced, living a polluted footprint, job losses, the inactive and inaccessible seas front, the dilapidated industrial buildings, the inaccessibility to affordable housing, the design of new structures which respond to the challenges of climate changes.

The collaborative project was a great opportunity to strengthen further the collaboration between the two Schools of Architectures, to emphasize the notion of global citizens and learn the importance of application of local strategies.

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