Metaxourgeio, Athens
The once-grand neighbourhood of Metaxourgeio in Athens was almost abandoned for years, but now a patchwork of artists, activists and NGO volunteers are breathing fresh life into it. Its crumbling neoclassical buildings are emblazoned with emotionally-charged murals by local graffiti writers. Shabby-looking brothels and squatter spots – tragic reminders of the decade-long economic downturn – have slowly given way to bars and tavernas that hum with activity until the early hours. The Communitism Project, a huge mansion being restored by local and refugee artists, houses exhibitions, film screenings, workshops and parties; it encapsulates young Athenians’ creative energy and ability to make something from nothing. Metaxourgeio is a neighbourhood in that magical, transitional phase where it truly feels as if anything could happen next.