Şehrine Ses Ver (Give Sound of Your City) has become the ninth “Changemaker” in the eighth season of the Sabancı Foundation Turkey’s Changemakers Program.
Urbanization and population density in Turkey is rising day by day. The needs of the rising population increase with it too. While the number of inhabitants per square kilometer was 2,420 in 2007, it increased each year, reaching 2,849 in 2016, according to data provided by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUİK).
With the rise of urbanization, the services that need to be offered to the city spread to wider ranges. Şehrine Ses Ver is a social initiative, aiming to get to know Turkey’s cities better, shed light upon cultural and social values, and seeks to design a more livable city.
The social initiative was launched by Merve Akdağ Öner, a young architect, and a group of designers and social scientist friends. It aims to come up with solutions to what it describes as actual problems in cities, by bringing together inhabitants of neighborhoods, designers, social scientists, public institutions and investors.
They have organized many different activities up until today. From workshops to design camps, thousands of people have contributed to activities organized. Together, they sought an answer to the question “How can we design a better living experience in the city?”
The initiative conducted activities in the Kadıköy, Üsküdar, Beşiktaş, Eyüp and Bomonti districts of Istanbul, as well as in the provinces of Kayseri, Erzincan and Balıkesir. They interacted with thousands of people in these areas, to exchange ideas for a more participative public space. One of them was the “Come With Your Dreams, Beşiktaş” interactive board project. As part of the project, inhabitants of Beşiktaş
gathered together and pinned their ideas and needs to the board. The volunteers of Şehrine Ses Ver, communicated these needs, ranging from transportation to green space and lightning, to the municipality. They also began designing solutions to these problems. This way, they contributed to communication between the locals and the authorities, while designating problems and offering solutions.
The initiative aimed to design a future for more livable cities. It included not only architects and city planners, but also the inhabitants of the city in the process of designing public spaces. It increased social communication and interaction. It raised awareness for building a common language and a common mind in city life. Şehrine Ses Ver enabled people from different disciplines to come together for a creative process and created a significant differences in the lives of the city’s inhabitants.