Conference themes

From 4-6 November, the Urban Age Istanbul Conference gathered over 400 people together to explore the vast and complex challenge of contemporary city making and the interconnected issues of the impact of the global economic condition on world cities, the effect of climate change on urban sustainability and the role of urban design in creating socially cohesive environments. Over 100 innovators of urban change from 15 countries, half a dozen mayors, renowned scholars and authors side-by-side with architects and developers leading major urban regeneration projects around the globe offered presentations about urban transformations and policies, urban pasts and futures.

The Urban Age Istanbul conference offered a mirror to reflect on issues of critical importance with the world's leading experts of urban change. The impact of ever-increasing and unequal sprawl on carbon emissions and sustainable city living, the exponential increase in car ownership and the debilitating effect of uncontrolled growth on basic urban infrastructure - such as public transport, water and sewer systems - are analysed in the context of a deep historical urbanism, emerging local governance structures, a challenging global economy, and new forms of multi-polar politics.

Chairman of the Deutsche Bank's Management Board and Chairman of the Alfred Herrhausen Society's Board of Trustees, Josef Ackermann opened the conference with the Mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbaş and Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan. They were joined by highly respected international experts including Kemal Derviş, former finance minister of the Turkish government and Vice-President of the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, Howard Davies, director of the London School of Economics and urban sociologists Richard Sennett and Çağlar Keyder to discuss the relationship between the global economy and urban development.

Alongside many local and regional speakers, presentations were made by the world-renowned architect Richard Rogers, New York Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Saskia Sassen, the world expert on global cities from Columbia University. Turkey's most eminent planning historian İlhan Tekeli will reflect on Turkish cities, alongside leading architects and designers in Istanbul including İhsan Bilgin and Korhan Gümüş. Mayors and civic leaders of Washington DC, São Paulo, Barcelona, Bogotá and Istanbul joined policymakers, planners and architects from London, Rotterdam, the Hague, New Delhi, Philadelphia, Berlin, Beirut and Mexico City.

In parallel to these activities, the third annual Deutsche Bank Urban Age Award, created to encourage people to take responsibility for their cities and to form new alliances to improve the lives of urban citizens, recognized a unique initiative in the Istanbul metropolitan area. Following an open call for entries and review by an independent jury, the winner of the $100,000 USD award was announced on 4 November 2009 at a reception inaugurating the Urban Age Istanbul Conference.