Local admınıstratıons’ ınvestment experıences tell the story of two cıtıes, Istanbul & Parıs

On the occasion of the Greater Paris Investment Agency’s visit to the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM), seminars and workshops were held in partnership with the Istanbul Planning Agency (IPA) and Istanbul Investment Agency (IYA), to exchange information about the urban transformation projects in particular for the Greater Paris Project where experiences and suggestions are shared by the directors and experts who are part of these transformation projects. The organization was held on 25-26 October 2021 at the Gazhane Museum. Within the scope of the Greater Paris Investment Agency’s visit, the IMM delegation was hosted at a dinner by Olivier Gauvin, Consul General of France in Istanbul.

In the two-days seminar, IYA and IPA shared their services to the city of Istanbul, and the Greater Paris Investment Agency stated that the establishment of two important institutions for a metropolitan city is very impressive in terms of the new vision of IMM.

The Greater Paris Investment Agency shared its experience in the following areas:

  • How Greater Paris Project is developed from intuition to a project and how it is organized
  • Financial scheme, legal and regulatory tools that support the project, and contract modes used in the project
  • Housing and economic strategy of Greater Paris Project that brings together the economic efficiency and quality of life
  • Transport-oriented development that prioritizes a healthy, green, and safe urban environment

On behalf of the Greater Paris Investment Agency Xavier Lepine, Chairman IEIF –Institute for Real Estate and Land Savings, shared their experience of the difficulties Paris faced during the Greater Paris Project, and stated that this mutual exchange with Istanbul would be beneficial for both parties. It was stated that they are pleased to contribute to the problems of Istanbul with the lessons learned from the mistakes and successes made in Paris within the scope of the project. Mr. Xavier Lepine stated that they cooperated with the central government by focusing on how an effective transportation network would benefit the economy, manufacturing and construction sectors.

The seminar was moderated by the President of the IYA, Tuncay Önbilgin, with a beneficial exchange of information and interaction between the cities of Istanbul and Paris. General Manager of IYA, Elif Karabay, shared details about the establishment period and operational structure of IYA and said that the common drawbacks and experiences of the two cities, the planning processes in Istanbul are focused on approaching with participatory and transparent understanding. Karabay expressed the desire to cooperate on these issues in collaboration with the Greater Paris Investment Agency.

Asena Selçuk, Vice President of IYA, informed the Greater Paris Investment Agency about the Platform for “Women’s and Girls’ Health and Development Platform” that has a social and economic vision that enables the healthcare industry and investments flow to Istanbul via innovation center and mentioned other international and academic projects IYA included.

Istanbul and Paris: The Dynamos of Turkish and French Economies

The General Manager of the Greater Paris Investment Agency Mr. Alexandre Missoffe said, “Paris and Istanbul are the economic dynamos that generate 30% of the economies of their countries. The economic growth of Paris means the economic growth of France.”. Tuncay Önbilgin, President of the IYA, “Istanbul is one of the world’s leading metropolises with a population of over 16 million and a giant economy that generates 30% of Turkey’s economy and 50% of Turkey’s foreign trade. As in the Greater Paris Project, the metro projects in Istanbul have the quality to set an example and contribute greatly to the development of Turkey.” said.

Common Case of Two Metropolises: Housing Problem

Bertrand Lemoine, Former Head of Architects of the Greater Paris Project, said, “Paris currently has a shortage of 1 million housing units. We planned to solve this problem in 15 years by building 75 thousand social housing every year. Additionally, concrete proposals were provided to accelerate and facilitate the transformation of office spaces into housing, which was unoccupied with the increase in the rate of working remotely during Covid-19. Thus, we committed to converting 500,000 square meters of business spaces into dwellings by 2022.” in his words, he explained the housing problem they faced in Paris.

Within the scope of the housing problem, Burcu Özüpak Güleç, IPA Vision 2050 Office Coordinator, said, “As metropolises around the world, we struggle with multi-layered, global and similar problems. While finding solutions to these problems, we work for the welfare and happiness of the people living in our cities. No city can find the solution to these problems alone. That is why we need to share information and act together. Vision 2050, which is included in IPA and its ecosystem; aims to contribute to the solution of practical problems that will transform the social and cultural vision of the city by establishing cooperation between scientists, researchers, experts, artists, and institutions such as universities, NGOs and professional associations. ”

Economic Development Goals with Rail Systems Investments of Istanbul and Paris

 Pelin Alpkökin, IMM Head of the Rail Systems Department, conveying the vision and works of IMM in the field of transportation, said, “The weight of the rail system in public transportation in Istanbul is around 16%. We expect this figure to exceed 35% with the rail system projects to be completed. In megacities like Istanbul, the ratio of the rail system in public transportation should be at least 50%.” said and added: “By 2019 IMM has taken over multiple incomplete rail construction projects. Because of the deficiency of enough finance for these projects we have to make strategic decisions and keep the gear in action. We made it by co-deciding. By working with financially strong firms, we have to complete the already started investments. International credits are indispensable for these kinds of big projects.”

Head of Development Guillaume Pasquier who gave information about the income model and investment size of the Greater Paris Project, said this is a 20-year transformation Project that creates a “Greater Paris Region” that will increase the efficiency of the city and its contribution to the economy and connects 3 airports with 200-kilometer length metro lines, is 35 billion EUR investment size and it is anticipated that it will contribute 100 billion EUR of GDP to the economy of France.

With a daily passenger capacity of 2 million and 68 connected stations, the Project is expected to increase the GDP of the Eurozone by 0.18%, in France by 0.79%, and in the region by 2.61%.

ECT Development Director Guillaume Pasquier stated that although the “special equipment tax” is one of the project financing tools, the benefit to be provided by the Greater Paris Project due to the metro lines will be an approximately 10% increase in the value of the peripheric buildings. The General Manager of the Greater Paris Investment Agency, Alexandre Missoffe stated that it was decided to have an economic signature for each region to give an identity to the Greater Paris Project, and in this direction, they created economically attractive areas such as creative industries clusters, movie industry areas, Silicon Valley-like advanced technology areas.

At the end of the two days, the delegations left with the strong will to make this cooperation and communication between Paris and Istanbul persistent.