December 14, 2011

‘Ecumenopolis’ Displays Dark Side of Istanbul’s Growth

A German/Turkish documentary film, “Ecumenopolis,” directed by İmre Azem, questions the future of Istanbul as it looks at the rapid urban transformation of the city and new urban construction projects planned for 2012.

The film investigates İstanbul’s ecological, demographic and economic limits with regards to urban growth and pressure to become a global city, through interviews with architects, urban planners, environmental engineers, economists and sociologists.

It asks whether Istanbul has a limit to its growth and whether an alternative strategy for development that would be more friendly towards the city dwellers’ needs and the original fabric of the city is possible.

Greek architect and urban planner Constantinos Doxiadis came up with the concept of “ecumenopolis” in 1967 to describe his idea that all urban spaces and megalopolises in the world will combine into one single city, an ecumenopolis, in the future as the pace of urban development and population is increasing on a global scale.

Ahmet Vefik Alp, a renowned Turkish architect and urban planner; Barbaros Gönençgil, chairman of Turkish Environmental and Woodlands Protection Society (TÜRÇEK) established in 1972; and Murat Cemal Yalçıntan, an urban planner and academic at Mimar Sinan University’s department of architecture, told Sunday’s Zaman their views on the city’s rapid urban transformation that the documentary draws attention to.


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