When businesspeople from 29 different cities in Turkey were asked to rank their country’s provinces and cities in terms of sustainability, quality of life, social opportunities, and economic environment, the biggest cities in Turkey — Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir — didn’t make the top 10.
“We can observe some world-cities in Turkey are not ranked in the top 10 for sustainability,” said Refik Erzan, Ph.D., from Boğaziçi University, at a press conference about the survey on Wednesday.
Eskişehir, which respondents ranked as most sustainable, was redesigned by a former mayor to include an innovative system of canals that have eased transportation around the city. It is also the location of a future high-speed rail terminal station, which will be an environmentally friendly structure partially powered by solar energy.
Turkey’s bigger cities also have plans to improve their sustainability record. In Istanbul, a project is underway to connect more of the city via walking paths, or “green paths”, which is one of the major principles of a sustainable city.
And compared to the nest of skyscrapers that dominates the landscape of most mega-cities, Istanbul’s relatively short skyline likely improves airflow and generates a more environmentally friendly microclimate.
Compared to other major cities around the world, however, sustainable urban planning and architecture has not been a major focus in Istanbul and Ankara. AVCI Architects is one of the few companies with an office in Istanbul that designs eco-friendly buildings, but it is an uphill battle to obtain empty land around Istanbul and sell clients on the merits of sustainable architecture, according to Kirk Henderson, a sustainable design specialist at AVCI.
Hopefully the recent survey, which was organized by MasterCard and Turkey’s Boğaziçi University, will serve as a wake-up call to Turkey’s major cities to improve their sustainability record before it begins to hurt their growth.
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