Dear inhabitants of Istanbul,
We know that migration from rural to urban areas in the world will continue until 2050 due to the economic, social, and creative opportunities it offers. With the addition of 2.5 billion people to the urban population, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. Istanbul is the world’s 14th largest metropolis with its 16 million inhabitants, and this number keeps increasing every day. Since Istanbul’s problems are getting more and more complex, we need to start from today building a sustainable future where social, economic, and environmental factors are in balance.
When I took office as the Mayor of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM), we stated that no preparation had been made for the future of Istanbul, it was even the case that what the city would look like in a year’s time was uncertain. Yet the future of a city like Istanbul should be planned with a holistic and inclusive approach and that’s why we established the ‘Istanbul Planning Agency’ (IPA). To achieve the vision of a ‘fair, green, creative city and happy inhabitants of Istanbul’ outlined in the strategic plan of IMM, studies are carried out under the roof of IPA making projections for Istanbul for the next 10, 20, and even 50 years.
The aim of the Istanbul Planning Agency, which we define as ‘the collective mind mechanism of the city’, is to establish a participatory mechanism in which scenarios based on data and international norms regarding the future of the city are studied including all its components, from demographics to the economy, from the environment to public sphere. While doing this, we also attached great importance to the spatial transformation of the area where IPA is located. We transformed an area previously used as the mayor’s residence and not accessible to the public into a public center focusing entirely on value creation. With its running tracks, tennis courts, synthetic pitches, sports fields, and swimming pool, this 80-acre green area is no longer exclusive to public officials but a production area for youth and academia. This space, which reproduces itself with the stakeholders of the city, has become the hub of the collective mind of the city.
Our goal is to plan an Istanbul that is livable, respectful to nature, protects its cultural heritage, compatible with the environment, has completed infrastructure, and makes decisions about its future based on the collective mind. We want to make Istanbul a fair and creative place where happy people can live together in peace and tranquility, and to create a local democracy model that will set an example for the rest of the world. It is because we know that if Istanbul, as a city that has set its impact on humanity throughout its history, changes, the world will change.
With love and respect,
Mayor of Istanbul