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Turkish academic: How the NowWeMOVE campaign is influencing sustainable urban development policies

By Faris Karahan, Department of Landscape Architecture, Architecture and Design Faculty, Atatürk University, Erzurum, Turkey.


Last month, the Turkish Union of Healthy Cities published an article of mine titled "Promotion of Active Life in Cities Green Infrastructure and Mobility Relationship” in Urban Magazine. The article features the European MOVE Week and NowWeMOVE campaign, as well as ISCA’s Inactivity Time Bomb research, as important initiatives in addressing urban problems linked with physical inactivity and promoting green city approaches such as active mobility and sustainable urban mobility policies.


Cities face the risk of losing their identities, systems, structures and functions due to increasing population growth, rapidly developing technologies, lack of planning to address these and the multiplicity of the damage this can brings. In addition, we are witnessing the negative effects of climate change, and a more frequent occurrence of natural disasters.


Today, urbanisation policies pursued for sustainable urban development and management, sustainable urban and planning often confront the economy and ecology. In this context, short-term economic concerns, perspectives and returns are shaping cities, and environmental sustainability remains in the background. The relationship established with sustainability is considered only if a visible and profitable investment is planned. Support for green infrastructure and approaches such as ecological cities, sustainable cities, smart cities and resilient cities is evident all over the world through conferences, contracts and/or processes such as HABITAT, the European Urban Charter, Quito Declaration, and holistic planning and design processes in health, sports and tourism.


According to United Nations (UN) data, 72% of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas by in 2050. This is compared to 3% in the 1800s, 14% in the 1900s, and 47% in 2000. According to the World Population Forecast Report revised in 2017, the world population, which was 7.5 billion in 2017, is estimated to reach 9.8 billion by 2050. The Economic Cost of Physical Inactivity in Europe report prepared by the International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA) and CEBR shows that, at the European level, 500,000 deaths occur annually due to lack of physical activity in Europe. It is stated that this results in approximately 100 billion Euro of health expenditure annually.


In the 2000s, a sustainable and integrated planning approach was adopted to improve quality of life in European Union (EU) cities. The SUMP Development and Implementation Guide has been developed as a result of the joint work of the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation and the European Commission (EACI). This guide has been developed to provide support to stakeholders, local authorities, urban transport and mobility practitioners involved in SUMP preparation.


The programme takes inspiration the advocacy work of Copenhagen-based International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA), which has more than 200 member associations in over 80 countries, and the Brussels-based European Cyclists Federation (ECF), which has 70 member associations covering 35 million cyclists in 40 countries. It is being coordinated and implemented by Turkey (Mugla) events-based Energy Efficiency and Environment Protection Association (ENVERÇEVKO).


ENVERÇEVKO is a partner in ISCA’s Open Streets Day event as Turkey’s NowWeMOVE National Coordinator

Article adapted from original text in Turkish published in Turkish Urban Magazine, (32) 39-44