İzmir Awarded ‘Sign of the City’ for Transport, Cultural Preservation Efforts
In Istanbul on November 8, 2018, the İzmir Metropolitan Municipality received two honors from the 2018 Sign of the City Awards.
Organized by the leadership of the Turkish daily newspaper, Hurriyet, since 2014, the Sign of the City Awards recognize projects that change and develop cities across Turkey. They are awarded in six categories each year. The İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, representing work done in the historic coastal city of İzmir, won recognition for “Best Transport and Infrastructure Service” for its İzmir Sustainable Transportation Project and “City and Architecture” for its İzmir History Project.
İzmir has taken several steps to improve public transportation and reduce carbon emissions in recent years, many in coordination with WRI. WRI Turkey Sustainable Cities prepared the “İzmir History Sustainable Transportation Project” for the city between 2016 and 2017. Covering a 250-hectare area in the historic Kemeraltı area of the city, the report analyzed housing and commercial activities and made recommendations to the İzmir Metropolitan Municipality on a combination of sustainable transportation solutions to improve accessibility, from walking and cycling to public transportation and parking.
Based on recommendations in the 2017 report, 70 streets have been pedestrianized and hydraulic barriers have been implemented to regulate the entry and exit of cars to the main public market. Additional recommendations are integrated into the city’s 2030 transportation master plan and cycling master plan.
During his term, Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu extended İzmir’s rail system 16 kilometers, reinforced sea transport with more environmentally friendly and comfortable ferries, and started to produce energy for the city’s electric bus fleet through solar panels on the roof of ESHOT, İzmir’s public transportation authority.
The Metropolitan Municipality has also taken significant steps to protect, preserve and revive the historic city center through the İzmir History Project. Launched in 2013, the project has gathered inputs from community stakeholders through public workshops and funneled them into efforts to improve buildings and attract new user groups while preserving traditional businesses. Projects influenced include the İzmir History Sustainable Transportation Project, Kemeraltı Lightning Master Plan, Namazgah Hamam Restoration Project, and Azizler Street Pattern Design Project
“Kemeraltı will become a more attractive and safer place for residents and visitors, thanks to these changes,” says Güneş Cansız, Director of WRI Turkey Sustainable Cities. “İzmir’s people-centered solutions are helping to protect and preserve its unique history while creating a more livable, walkable city for current and future generations.”