Two public spaces transformed through innovative practices are opened in Izmir

August 31, 2022

The innovative works carried out by UNDP, with the financial support of the Government of Japan, in collaboration with Karşıyaka Municipality and the Japanese design team Sotonoba, aim to improve and increase the potential of public spaces that are underutilized or that lack quality features.

UNDP showcases the potential of “tactical urbanism” in making Turkish cities more livable

Two neglected spaces in the Karşıyaka Municipality of Izmir have received a new lease on life thanks to an innovative project implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with financial support from the Government of Japan. Emre Zeyrek Park aims to revive the greenery of an idle pocket park and turn it into an oasis where residents can rest and socialize, while Kedili Avlu Park will provide shelter for the abundant stray cats in the area and a pleasant space for neighborhood residents. Festive opening ceremonies for the two new parks on 22 August 2022 in the Tersane District drew crowds of enthusiastic residents.

The project aims to showcase the potential of “tactical urbanism,” which focuses on making spatial improvements in public spaces through rapid low-cost interventions that reflect the preferences and needs of local residents. The UNDP Türkiye Accelerator Lab partnered in the effort with Karşıyaka municipal authorities and Sotonoba, a Japanese design team. 

“Rapid urbanization often leaves city dwellers without the green and quiet spaces they need for rest and relaxation,” said Miodrag Dragisic, UNDP Türkiye Deputy Resident Representative. “At UNDP our aim is to show that, with local participation, public spaces can be transformed from ugly eyesores into valuable community resources at low cost and high speed.”

“In a world facing so many challenges, our citizens need cities that are inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable,” said Karşıyaka Mayor Cemil Tugay. “We are pleased to work together with UNDP in taking practical steps to show how this shared vision can be translated into reality.”

The opening ceremonies were also attended by Tersane Neighborhood Local Authority Cenan Esmer and Emre Zeyrek, whose father’s name was given to one of the newly opened parks in recognition of his contributions to the local community. Speakers recognized Zarife Arslan for her contribution in painting murals to decorate Kedili Avlu Park.