ISTANBUL __ This city has witnessed the rise and fall of many progressive civilizations; from the early Hittites to the Persians, Lydians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, to the Ottomans. Remnants of each culture are still present in modern Istanbul, but the current population is facing a difficult challenge between balancing its past and building for the future. Who is faced with this demanding issue? Today, we were giving the opportunity to meet with Bimtaş, a consulting company that provides services under the Istanbul Directorate of Metropolitan Planning.
Bimtaş focuses on urban and regional planning, which is executed through strategic public services of regulations consisting of spatial, long ranged, and social programs. Through organized planning, it is possible to create environments that are risk free, healthy, and conserve natural and historic places.
With a population of about 13.3 million, one-fifth of the nation’s total population lives within the city limits of Istanbul (Bimtaş 2012). Bimtaş has estimated that the city’s carrying capacity – or the breaking point – falls around 16 million individuals. By collecting and utilizing data the organization is able to make informed and accurate recommendations to the Directorate of Metropolitan Planning based on factual evidence, instead of assumptions and speculations.
The organization does excellent work, but unfortunately because the organization is only contracted by the city their conclusions often go ignored. This led to many unanswered questions, due to conflicts of strategy between the department and the current government. Either way, it was interesting to gain an insider perspective in regards to the future of the city.
Afterward we stopped to get fantastic Nutella and strawberry crepes on Istiklal Caddesi. The group then meet up at the Pera Museum, where the seasonal exhibit featured Andy Warhol’s work. It was interesting to see an American artist’s work abroad, and its influence as well as controversy the pop-art movement ignited. Hopefully, like the pop-art movement, sustainability will have a lasting impact not only here in Istanbul, but worldwide.
By: Michelle Levano