ULI Turkey: Density Conference

On 15 April, ULI Turkey held a conference entitled Density in Real Estate: Solutions For Growing Cities in Istanbul. The event was sponsored by Ak Portföy, The conference explored aspects of “good” and “bad” density, as well as Istanbul’s position compared to other cities in the world.

Key takeaways from the Conference were as follows:

The density of the industrial premises is greater in Istanbul compared to other cities.

The conference started with the presentation of Dr. Emre Çamlıbel, a ULI member and CEO of SOYAK Holding, summarizing the results of ULI’s second density report. Istanbul ranks at the bottom among the 6 cities studied in the report regarding professions, science, and communication technologies, and has second worst ranking regarding finance. According to the report, the regeneration of industrial areas is key to achieving successful density in the city.

In order to have a better density profile, quality of life, city plans, and economic activity must be improved.

Istanbul ranks better than the other cities studied on income inequality, crime rates, carbon emission, waste production, and the comparatively cheaper mass transport. But as far as population density, economic and cultural activities, quality of life, sustainable city plans, crowdedness and traffic, density of industry, air pollution, and management via spontaneous decisions are concerned, the situation of Istanbul is not promising. On the average of these factors, Istanbul stays in the category of “bad density cities”.

100 new cities far from the large cities of Turkey should be built.

This idea was proposed in a panel discussion featuring Hakan Kodal, ULI Founding Chair and Chair of KREA, with the panellists Mesut Pektaş, former Secretary General of the Metropolitan Municipality of Istanbul and the President of the Zorlu Real Estate Group; Nazmi Durbakayım, Chair of both Istanbul Constructors Association and Teknik Yapı; Özdemir Sönmez, UCLG Gold Director for Turkey and Professor at Yıldız University; and Mehmet Emin Çakırkaya, Architect and Partner of Tekeli Sisa,

To solve Istanbul’s problems and contend with current migration trends, Pektaş proposed to build 100 new cities with populations less than 200,000 and far away from big cities, and two create two axes of transportation connecting north to south, and east to west.

Other views set forth by the panellists to prevent negative density in Istanbul were to move industry to Anatolia, to prevent changing plans on parcel basis, to share the estates on value basis and not on the size of the areas during urban transformation process, and fix the added value brought about by urban transformation before hand, so that it would not create bad density.