İzmir, Türkiye

Photo by Sinan Alper

Addressing the urban challenge

Breadth of the issue- How are the problem(s) that are being tackled by your initiative affecting citizens/local businesses or a significant component of the local wildlife?

The project aims to achieve a variety of impacts related to both environmental and socio-economic aspects. By doing so, it will improve life quality in urban areas, raise awareness on the importance of environment preservation among citizens, generate new green market opportunities for SMEs at the national and international levels. Moreover, the project offers great value to the city in terms of environment via implementations of NBSs, and economy, through sustainable development and training. All these issues via NBSs make the project as part of the Living Park Project of Izmir which are the large-scale green areas located in rural and natural zones targeted for conservation on the outskirts of the city and connected to the city center by İzMiras Routes. The living Parks bring together three types of functions normally treated as separate: ecological conservation, agricultural production, and recreational usage. The Living Parks are a peri-urban park model where the potential contained in a holistic urban/rural, and natural/cultural structure is expressed and experienced. In these spaces, the functions of meeting the recreational needs of residents and tourists, supporting ancient agricultural production methods and the branding of local products, and raising awareness and promoting the conservation of local flora and fauna, are all fulfilled. While visitors are enjoying recreational activities in the rural areas on the outskirts of the city, they will also be able to discover ways of experiencing nature and traditional agricultural practices.

Depth of the issue – How seriously are the problems being tackled by your initiative impacting the life of the citizens/businesses/wildlife concerned?

NBSs are interventions inspired by nature and are designed to address social and environmental problems. The idea behind these solutions is to better the use of properties of plants, soils and other natural elements to design cities and to increase the sustainability of lifestyle. Examples of challenges, which will be tackled with NBSs are climate change, air and water pollution, floods and rising temperature. The NBSs in the project provide solutions to four main problems: These problems are loss of biodiversity, heatwaves and temperature increases, floods (Fluvial floods), and the height of CO2 levels and pollutants in the atmosphere. The available green space has been expanded and therefore the tree crown cover and permeable surfaces have been greatly increased. In addition, a long and wide green-blue corridor extending from the sea inwards carries the refreshing wind to the interior. These actions are aimed at reducing the urban heat island effect and the risks posed by heatwaves. In addition, the intensive use of pollinator-friendly plants in the area and the construction of pollinator houses are an action against the growing loss of urban biodiversity. The increased amount of permeable surface around the stream is also an adaptation measure against possible flood risk.