Members of ICON Greece visited Riace global village, where about 3.000 refugees reside in an almost abandoned village. ICON Greece was invited by NGO Darsana Terranga which has affiliates with local authorities and residents. The visit in Riace and the working meetings with partners were the most interesting and challenging projects ICON Greece implemeted.
Riace is a seaside village in a depopulated and economically deprived area in the south of Italy.
Domenico Lucano has been Mayor of Riace since 2004. It is his intuition that has radically changed the village.
Mr. Lucano’s idea came to him in response to two phenomena: first, the increasing number of migrants arriving on Italian shores; and second, the dramatic depopulation of his village in the past decades. By the 1990’s, only a couple of hundred inhabitants remained in Riace, and their average age could lead one to expect that the village might soon be completely abandoned. In the arrival of the migrants, Mr. Lucano saw an opportunity to rejuvenate and revive his village.
Today some 2,800 people from 20 different countries live in Riace and the village is recognized worldwide as a model for the integration of migrants and asylum seekers. Lucano’s policies have also proven effective in terms of urban renewal and socio-economic development.