Heraklion, Greece

  • City population: 
  • City/Urban area: 
  • Population Density: 
    More than 500 inhabitants per km²
  • GDP – city: 
    More than USD 25,000
  • GDP - country: 
    USD$ 18,002
  • Average number of years of schooling: 

A hub of creativity, development, lifelong learning and growth

Heraklion is the largest city on Crete and the island’s economic and administrative centre. It has a rich archaeological past and is the birthplace of the painter, El Greco, and the author, Nikos Kazantzakis.

Vision and Motivation

The municipality has already received worldwide recognition for its strategic efforts. One of its achievements has been its inclusion on the European Intelligent Community Forum’s list of the world’s 21 ‘smartest cities’, from 2012 to 2014.

Challenges and Goals

Heraklion is a city undergoing a period of socio-economic and cultural change. As a result, there is an urgent need to mobilize all available human and financial resources to invest in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), in general, and to support marginalized groups, in particular.

Plan and Implementation

The municipality has established a multidimensional plan to make Heraklion a hub of creativity, development, lifelong learning and growth. Numerous educational, scientific and cultural projects and events are under way. ESD is a key area requiring participatory teaching and learning methods that motivate and empower learners to change. The city’s efforts centre on three main pillars:

  1. a Lifelong Learning Department for adult education;
  2. initiatives to support innovation, entrepreneurship, improved quality of life and participatory e-governance that in turn will promote ICTs and digital literacy; and
  3. extended ESD based on the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme, the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Networks (ASPNets) and cooperations with research institutes.


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