Building the Future

Throughout history, Izmir has served as a beating heart between Asia and Europe. Numerous innovations, from democracy to literature, from medicine to philosophy, emerged in Izmir and spread to the world from there. Today, we are determined to be at the vanguard of change, powered by Izmir’s and inspiring character.

Our efforts in Izmir regarding the construction of the future are centered around urban design.

On our planet, all natural ecosystems are interconnected, and they nourish each other. Rivers connect mountains with the sea, forests breathe to cultivate our air, winds and insects carry the pollen of flowers to regenerate life. They all come together and make the web of life, of which, we are a part. Life on earth is based on the circularity of nature.

When we consider the cities of our era, however, we no longer see the circularity of nature. Cities of our era absorb air, water, soil, mines and biodiversity from our planet. In turn, they deliver plastic waste, carbon dioxide, wars and poverty that are all very far from enhancing the web of life. Most of the time, cities are overwhelmingly centralized, culturally and physically distracted from other ecosystems of our planet. 

In our era, the circularity of nature gradually shifts to the centrality of cities resulting in climate emergency, plastic islands in oceans, loss of biodiversity and finally, the demise of our hopes. As cities break ties from the ecosystem they are surrounded by, we lose grip of the reality of life on earth. 2007 was the first time that more people in the world started to live in cities rather than in rural areas. By 2021, it was 56% of the world’s human population and is expected to increase to 68% by 2050.

If we are sincere about sustaining our presence on this planet, we must challenge ourselves to move forward for the unusual. We have to be brave enough to develop our cities as spaces that act as an integral part of the web of life. This is what we call in Izmir, circular urbanism.

Izmir is an 8 thousand 500 years old city that shelters an outstanding accumulation of cultural practices underpinned by living in harmony. In fact, democracy is born in the Aegean of which Izmir sits at the heart. 

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.” 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.

In Izmir, we adopted the four pillars of circular culture as a concrete strategy to nurture circular urbanism starting from the Mediterranean. Through the circular urbanism perspective, we approach “the city” as an ecosystem that fosters calmness and harmony instead of speed and individuality.

To attain these objectives, we established the Izmir Planning Agency within the framework of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality. We are executing an extensive program aimed at fostering the city's growth in harmony with its natural surroundings. This initiative, named as Izmir Vision 2050, collaborates closely with all stakeholders in the city. Additionally, we are establishing the Alliance for Cities with Circular Culture to advocate for the Circular City concept, initially from the Mediterranean, and expand it globally. In conjunction with this, we are also putting into action the inaugural CittaSlow Metropolis Program in Izmir, as a component of the CittaSlow network headquartered in Italy.

The Izmir Transformation Office, a part of the Izmir Planning Agency, exemplifies our commitment to fostering a lifestyle that is in harmony with change in Izmir. Within this office's scope, we introduce technologies that resonate with the evolving dynamics of our city. The pilot zones we have set up offer a blueprint for the entire urban area. We are actively shaping the future of our city as of today.

We stand behind those who are actively working towards constructing the future world. The Entrepreneurship Center Izmir supports initiatives that explore new possibilities, considering the strategic focus of our city. In collaboration with TÜSİAD, our project brings together ventures that emphasize both social and economic advantages, creating products and services attuned to the needs of individuals, communities, and the environment. We provide essential resources including office spaces, educational support, and mentorship.

At IZQ Entrepreneurship Center, we offer tailor-made training programs in R&D and innovation to enrich entrepreneurs' skill sets. Since its beginning, a diverse range of courses including NFT-Metaverse Training, Digital Marketing Training, Financial Literacy Training, Drone Assembly, and Coding Training have been consistently provided. These educational initiatives are complemented by entrepreneurship summit events on both national and international platforms, with the goal of elevating and spreading awareness about entrepreneurship.

The Job Factory, affiliated with the Directorate of Social Projects, provides information, awareness, guidance, counseling, capacity-building, and vocational training activities for various segments of society. This includes but is not limited to the unemployed, individuals lacking adequate education, people with disabilities, women, children, youth, senior citizens, refugees, and other marginalized groups.