Circular Culture

At the Culture Summit of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) held in Izmir in 2021, we developed a new concept for regenerating life on earth. This is “Circular Culture.” This concept considers culture as the mortar that binds a building together, the drops of water that connect the roots and branches of a tree. 

Circular culture goes beyond our daily practices that temporarily fix individual problems. Instead, it seeks a holistic transformation of our lives and cities through fostering harmony between people and nature as well as the past and the future. Therefore, we consider circular culture as the essence of circular urbanism.

Circular culture rises on four pillars: Harmony with nature, harmony with each other, harmony with the past, and harmony with change. 

Harmony with nature
Nature is not an “environment” in which humanity stands at the center. It is the life itself. Today, we failed to develop cities that embrace nature as a whole. From here, the multiple crises of our era were born: The climate crisis, the biodiversity crisis, the plastic crisis and others. For this reason, the first pillar of circular culture is based on harmony with nature, growing our appreciation of nature rights.

Harmony with each other
If we want to realize the transformation that the world needs so much, the second pillar of circular culture forms another basic starting point: Harmony with each other. This means democracy that secures equal citizenship for all at every minute of our lives.

Harmony with the past
The third pillar, harmony with the past, highlights that it is not possible to design the future of cities without attuning to multiple cultures of the past. In an ever-changing world, former civilizations worldwide have cultivated and accumulated unending sources of inspiration for the future.

Harmony with change
Heraclitus, an ancient thinker from Izmir said: “The only constant is change” This saying prevents all possibilities that may turn culture into a dogma, an ideology, or a domination of power. This is why we take harmony with change as our fourth pillar to establish a more just city that is open to change in alliance with other cities of the world.