Two views on… The city

With Arzu Tekir and Korhan Gümüş


This is­sue, Two Views fo­cuses on İs­tan­bul. Turk­ish Re­view speaks to Arzu Tekir, di­rec­tor of EM­BARQ Türkiye, part of the Washington-based World Re­sources In­sti­tute (WRI) Ross Cen­ter for Sus­tain­able Cities, and ar­chi­tect Korhan Gümüş of Mi­mar Si­nan Univer­sity’s Ur­ban and Re­gional Plan­ning Depart­ment, who pro­duces ‘Metropo­lit­ica’ on Açık Radyo and writes a col­umn for ar­chi­tec­ture mag­a­zine XXI Der­gisi, about their per­spec­tives on the city

Turk­ish Re­view: You once said in an in­ter­view that in­vest­ing in peo­ple rather than in car-cen­tric trans­port would lead to bet­ter public spa­ces. First of all, would you tell us what in­vest­ing in peo­ple re­ally is; who can do that?

Arzu Tekİr: I’d like to re­spond to this ques­tion with a quote by Jan Gehl, who is a great teacher and the world-renowned found­ing part­ner of Gehl Ar­chi­tects. “Noth­ing in the world is more sim­ple and more cheap than mak­ing cities that pro­vide bet­ter for peo­ple,” he said. Cities are built for peo­ple. Public spa­ces are built for peo­ple. There is no rea­son to leave out peo­ple when we plan the traf­fic or de­sign cities.

We or­ga­nized a Bike­able City Mas­ter­class in Copenhagen last year. There, we learned that ev­ery time some­one rides a bike for one kilo­me­ter, so­ci­ety gains $0.42; ev­ery time some­one drives a car for one kilo­me­ter, so­ci­ety loses $0.20. The most im­por­tant so­cio-eco­nomic im­pact of cy­cling lies in the area of healthcare. When we cy­cle, we save our­selves and so­ci­ety as a whole sig­nif­i­cant healthcare costs, in­clud­ing saved treat­ment ex­penses and in­creased tax rev­enues as a re­sult of fewer ill­nesses.

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