Denkraum - Good Life & Sustainable Cities

06 - 09 October 2020, Impact Hub Athens

Denkraum – Good Life & Sustainable Cities is the second event in the 2020 Denkraum series, hosted in three European cities and organized by the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt in collaboration with Impact Hub.

These events explore a positive vision of the future: Sustainable cities by 2030, in which a good life plays an essential part. Denkraum brings together leaders from the private, public, and civic sectors to explore how European cities can address environmental, economic, and social challenges.

Sustainable Cities

In the near future, 68 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Cities are the places where global challenges are concentrated and intensified – from climate change and mobility, to integration and safety, to threats to democracy and social cohesion as a result of increasing fragmentation.

Numerous success stories show, however, that positive impact can be most quickly achieved at the local level – and by involving all stakeholders. Therefore, we promote the development and spread of scalable solutions for resilient, intelligent, sustainable, and equitable (RISE) cities. 

Why Athens?

Athens was always looked at as a hub for social innovation due to the challenges of the last few years; from the financial to the refugee crisis, from the increasing unemployment to environmental disasters with the wildfires.The positive forces that aim to the reconstruction have planted the seeds, have changed the narrative; it is time now to enter with more force, with stronger partnerships, with scalable solutions and open dialogue in order to establish good life & sustainability conditions in our city.


Sustainable cities by 2030, in which a good life plays an essential part. Denkraum brings together leaders from the private, public, and civic sectors to explore how European cities can address environmental, economic, and social challenges.

Keynote Speakers


An expert on urban resilience and climate adaptation, Senior Advisor of the City of Athens & Former Deputy Mayor, Elena has dedicated her career to promoting resilience with a focus on heat, urban nature and vulnerable populations. As Senior Fellow, she plays a crucial role in helping Arsht Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center reach its goal of making One Billion People more resilient to climate change, migration & human security challengers by 2030 

Alexandra Mitsotaki

Alexandra Mitsotaki is co-founder & president of the World Human Forum, a global citizen initiative which has its symbolic base in Delphi. In 2019 she launched the Convergences Greece Forum. In 1998 she founded the Greek affiliate of ActionAid, the international organisation against poverty and injustice, ActionAid Hellas. For the last 10 years she was in charge of the Hellenic Cultural Centre in Paris, of which she is now vice-chair, with the aim of establishing a tool of cultural diplomacy for Greece in the Francophone world. Reacting to the financial crisis in Greece, in 2014 she co founded Action Finance Initiative, the first microcredit organisation in Greece with partners ActionAid Hellas and Adie France. In the past she has worked at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), where she specialised further in poverty issues in the developing world. She is a profound believer in civil society mobilisation and in citizen responsibility and their capacity to hold governments accountable at all levels of civic engagement.



Vasileia Vaxevani is a professional storyteller since 2008.  She has done Classical studies in the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. After her studies she came across the art of storytelling and has studied in the Storytelling School of the Center for the Study of Dissemination of Myths and Folktales. She has also studied the art of storytelling in Maison du Conte under the guidance of Abbi Patrix and Ben Haggarty.  She is one third of the storytelling group Talemaidens. Together they perform in schools, libraries, cultural places, museums, theaters, music halls etc. Since 2010 she is working with Comicdom Press, creating and implementing comics workshop for children, adults and educators. She co-ordinates and facilitates educational comics workshops at the Athens Comics Library trying to disseminate the art to a wide and broad audience as well as establish its educational value. She is also the only storyteller in Greece that uses the Japanese storytelling technique Kamishibai that combines oral tradition and comics. Believing that telling stories either through the oral tradition or using comics is therapeutic, she often volunteers her work to centers hosting immigrants or institutions that care for children that have been temporarily removed from their families. She has also volunteered telling stories and Greek myths in institutions and schools in townships in South Africa as part of the UNISA Storytelling Festival.


Green Mobility

How can we amplify infrastructure & use of electric cars?


How can we bridge the gap between structural funds & green investments?

Spaces of the City Fabric

How can we transform empty cultural heritage buildings in sustainability motors for society & economy ?  

Resilient Culture

How can we design sustainable programs that ensure the right to culture for all, without targeting (and as a consequence “othering”) specific groups – usually the “vulnerable” populations?


How can we develop the first Zero Waste Future for the domains of gastronomy & hospitality in Greece?

Green Infrastructure

How can OLP (PPA) act as a catalyst towards a net zero emission carbon footprint inside the port area?


Challenge Owners



ONLINE | All participants

Tuesday 06 October – 17.00 – 18.30

17:00 Opening // Kick-off
17:10 Keynotes: Alexandra Mitsotaki & Lenio Myrivilli
17:30 Small Q&A
17:45 Introduction of the experts and their the key challenges

18:00 Speed dating between challenge specific groups


ONLINE | Appointed groups

Wednesday 07 October

10:00 -12:30 Co-creation & deep dive on Green Mobility 
16:00 – 18:30 Co-creation & deep dive on Waste Management 

Thursday 08 October

10:00 -12:30 Co- creation & deep dive on Spaces & the City Fabric
10:00 -12:30 Co- creation & deep dive on Finance 
16:00 – 18:30 Co- creation & deep dive on Sustainability in Culture

Friday 09 October

10:00 -12:30 Co- creation & deep dive on Green Infrastructure



ONLINE  | All participants

Friday 09 October, 17.00 – 18.00

17:00 Closing of Denkraum Athens with BMW Foundation
17:10 Sharing harvest of the deep dives
17:50 Closing words

About the Organisers

The BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt promotes responsible leadership and inspires leaders worldwide to work towards a peaceful, just and sustainable future. Through its activities, the Foundation aims to advance the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.

The foundation aims for a systemic transformation towards a sustainable and impact-oriented economic and financial system. Our role as a global leadership organization is to inspire and facilitate interactions, acting as a medium through which genuine connections can grow and develop into productive and meaningful collaboration or initiatives. 

Our commitment is to drive actively programmes & initiatives while intervening on critical & urgent topics in the city of Athens. We focus our actions around circular economy, urbanism, activism, tech for good & ethics, and they are the themes that we invite the greek impact ecosystem to focus so that we can drive sustainable change together.

We believe that participatory urban interventions can lead to community empowerment and that mindful collaborations between citizens, private organisations & governmental entities can revive cities through sustainable practices & active communities.

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