ULI Turkey: Building Healthy Places Video Conference and Panel

ULI Turkey held a Healthy Places Video Conference and Panel in Istanbul on November 25 to both introduce the ULI Building Healthy Places Initiative and to start discussions on healthy places in Turkey.

The video conferencer was Ed McMahon, ULI senior resident fellow and Chair of Sustainable Development and Environmental Policies. The panel on best practices from Turkey was moderated by Firuz Soyuer, partner of DTZ Pamir & Soyuer and panellists were Tunç Soyer, Deputy Chair of Cittaslow and Mayor of Seferihisar (the first example of a slow city-  Cittaslow – in Turkey), and Şule Sümer, Director of Environmental Protection and Control of the Kadıköy Municipality, one of the largest municipalities of Istanbul.

In his presentation, Ed McMahon strongly emphasised that life span of people has become dependent on postcodes rather than genetic codes. To create healthy, liveable places we first should think of people. Green spaces and parks increase the value of the real estates. For example, the most expensive land is the land near the Central Park in New York.  The value of real estates near walkable, cycleable neighbourhoods is again higher than others. In the US, last year the number of bicycles sold was larger than the number of cars. It has been seen that the creation of bicycle paths has helped the sales of nearby retailers. Transforming old railroads into bicycle routes, or sparing some streets only for bicycles are easy solutions to create healthier, more profitable places.

Mayor Soyer stressed that three conditions should be fulfilled in order to create sustainable settlements. These are proximity to the nature, technology/science/art, and participation. Cittaslow (slow city) movement is actually a model for sustainable development. Having producer markets and women cooperatives adds to the content of the sustainable development model.

Mrs. Sümer announced that with its 20/20 target the Kadıköy Municipality will decrease the carbon emission and waste by 20%. People living in the Municipality will have an integrated bicycle route in 4 years.

The panel ended after a Q&A session.