The Participation Toolkit

The Temporary Reuse Toolkit provides methodology and phases for the reactivation of empty buildings through temporary uses and is open-source!

How can we grow together?

After the COVID-19 pandemic it became apparent that digital infrastructure is very important for communities in their everyday workflow. The list provided in the Participation Toolkit tries to collect applications and platforms that are built by communities for communities having their intrinsic needs in mind.

Space is understood as both physical and emotional. Collective mapping creation has worked as a tool to understand how certain communities co-create a safe space, its boundaries. How they feel on openness, inclusion, sharing and commoning. At the same time they try to explain what they fear, how they can overcome barriers that rise from everyday practices. Here we present the results of our work with communities, and as with board game design, we present our methodological approach.

We deployed a board game called “12 Common Buildings” into various contexts in order to try and explain commons as a set of social practices, and promote dialogue under “real-life” examples. Our methodological approach involves municipalities, NGOs, activists and others, who try to think on what can be common for all. It is an effort so that the board game can be reused in order to address different needs and work in diverse situations.


Our toolkit offers a bottom-up research approach that brings people actively involved in citizen communities to the foreground. We regard space as a set of social interactions which can help elevate emotion and thus constitute a means to increase visibility and participation of under-represented communities.
Our novel methodology refers to game creation which promotes collective reflection on conflict resolution and community building.

The Participation Toolkit was developed by Open Labs Athens. If you have questions or feedback, don’t hesitate to contact us!

What is the Participation Toolkit about?

The toolkit consists of three distinctive tools:

  1. a list of digital applications with the following characteristics:
    • Private and secure.
    • Open source.
    • Can be self hosted.
    • Easy to use by communities who are not necessarily tech savvy.
    • For the most part free to use.
  2. a methodological description on game creation. We feel that board games can be a means for co-creation and self-education and here we provide a way to construct your own game based on your needs and specific use case.
  3. a methodological take on collective mapping which derived from our work with communities that deal with discrimination and walk on the thin line of exclusion.

The Tools

Digital Tools List

Provides an inexpensive way to communities to build their digital infrastructure. Offers open source solutions to proprietary software. The applications here are built by communities for communities, i.e. they are more secure private and non-commercial.

Game Design Machine

A step-by-step and open-ended methodology to create a game based on a specific problem or theme that relates to the reality of a commons’ initiative. Provides a process and several tangible tools to think collectively on a field of interest in order to produce new framings, representations or alternative narratives which could be capable of revealing unexplored potentials or solutions. It requires commitment to your aim and it is mainly a “hands-on” practice for teams to improve design thinking and problem solving.

Collective emotional mapping

Builds a space for discussion, participation and creation as a starting point for common knowledge of the space that surrounds us. Draws upon individual perceptions that co-create a collective understanding of space dynamics. Requires supplies such as base-map, rice-paper and colored pencils

Meet the Team

I am a researcher for Open Lab Athens and a 3D designer at the Disinfaux Collective. I hold a Diploma in Urban and Regional Studies from the University of Thessaly and a MSc in Urban Planning and Policy Design from the Polytechnic School of Milan. Currently, I am a PhD candidate in Architecture, National Technical University of Athens and, for the last three years, I have worked as an urban planner in several projects.

My research interests focus on critical geography, participatory design and planning, migration studies, ethnography and the digital visualization of socio-spatial relations.


Responsible for collective emotional mapping.


I am researcher for Open Lab Athens. I’ve studied Statistics at the University of Piraeus and have an MSc in Sociology from the University of Crete. I am a Full-Stack Software Developer and have worked with various NGOs and grassroots communities in Greece. Currently, I participate in the H2020 research project “Generative European Commons Living Lab”(gE.CO Living Lab). My research interests revolve around Participatory Action Research, Research Software Development, Digital Security, Data Science, Machine Learning, Feminism and Urbanism.

Responsible for Digital Tools.


I am working as a researcher for Open Lab Athens. I have studied Architecture in Democritus University of Thrace and I completed my MSc in Sociology in School of Social Sciences at University of Crete. During my studies, I have worked as a freelance graphic designer for organizations and private businesses and in several art projects. I have also been involved in a research project of the Transformable Intelligent Environment Laboratory of Technical University of Crete related to education, architecture and digital fabrication.

My interests are in the fields of critical urbanism, participatory design, education, technology and the analysis of knowledge production as a result of social relations.

Responsible for game design machine.

The Toolbox

The Temporary Reuse Toolkit

The Temporary Reuse Toolkit provides methodology and phases for the reactivation of empty buildings through temporary uses.


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The Participation Toolkit

The Participation Toolkit supports with promoting and facilitating community building through collaboration and equal participation.

The Governance Toolkit

The Governacne Toolkit helps envisioning, planning and governing the commoning processes