Thessaloniki’s resilience journey

Thessaloniki has a rich history as a major hub of business and culture, from the Roman period to the Byzantine Empire. Today it remains an important metropolitan region for Greece, with an active port, a respected university, and a robust tourist industry.

Thessaloniki has also been affected by the economic and political crises that have rocked Greece in recent years. Growing unemployment due to a shrinking manufacturing sector and a lack of opportunities for young people have increased social needs, while resources to provide services have decreased. The city has a dense urban structure with limited open or green space, somewhat offset by the peri-urban forest and a 7km waterfront.

Tensions have weakened relations between residents and public authorities. With new projects to upgrade infrastructure, officials see an opportunity to build trust and engagement with community members by involving them in planning processes – a way to work collectively, sharing responsibility, resources, opportunities, and results. Thessaloniki is also using this approach to build response plans for natural disasters, crises, and chronic stresses, as well as engaging the city’s networks in resilience planning.

Meet the Chief Resilience Officer

Michael Koupkas

Chief Resilience Officer, Deputy Mayor of Finance

Michael Koupkas is Chief Resilience Officer and Deputy Mayor of Finance for the Municipality of Thessaloniki. He is an economist with over 20 years’ experience in the private and public sectors. With expertise in business administration and in economic and accounting feasibility studies, since 2003 he has been an officer at the Tax Auditor of the Ministry of Finance. Michael was elected a member of the Thessaloniki City Council in 2019, and appointed Deputy Mayor of Finance and the CRO responsible for the Urban Resilience Observatory and the Development programs. He is also an elected member of the Economic Chamber of Greece.

Michael’s research interests include human resource management and organizational behaviour in the public sector. He holds a BSc in Business Administration from the University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, and a master’s degree in Business Administartion and Tourism from the Hellenic Open University. Currently, he is studying for a PhD at the University of Macedonia. His thesis is titled “The Link between HR Practices, Psychological Contract, and Organizational Performance: The case of the Greek Independent Public Revenue Authority.”

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