The Presentation Day of the Üsküdar Mobility Lab took place on June, 6th as an “iftar” event, that is a dinner activity, on the Valide Sultan Ferry. The Ferry belongs to the Municipality of Üsküdar and takes citizens to the Bosporus. Passengers are entitled to a free sightseeing ride with a guide. The aim of the service is to increase citizens’ knowledge about the culture and history of the area and thus strengthen the sense of belonging.
The goal of the Presentation Day was to showcase the work done and to inform people about the project aims, steps and results in order to attract citizens to join. The event also aimed to give a chance to the local citizens to try some of the tools of Citizen Mobility Kit. This was an opportunity to inform citizens about the Citizen Mobility Community and the Citizen Mobility Lab. Therefore, on occasion of the Presentation Day there was no culture and history guide. Instead, during the 2-hour ride, the Cities-4-People staff acted as a guide for about 350 attendants regarding the project and its tools. The event was opened by the vice Mayor and closed by the Mayor, who introduced the project and stressed the importance of taking part in it.
During the ride, participants had the possibility to go to a project table and try out hands-on activities or collect information materials.
In order to reach everybody and not just wait for active commitment by citizens, the staff of the project also joined each ferry table and talked to participants one by one. Participants were asked to answer five key questions, notably:
- What is the major mobility problem you face in Üsküdar?
- Where do you face that problem?
- Why do you think the problem occurs?
- Who else, besides you, is affected by the problem?
- What are the effects of the problem on those people?
The answers can be summarised as follows:
- Car parking is the major problem in Üsküdar and everybody if affected by it: drivers and pedestrians, children, students and workers. Road construction can be identified as the main origin of the problem, especially around Üsküdar Square. The problem has negative economic and social consequences.
- Sidewalks in Üsküdar are often occupied by shops and parked vehicles, especially around the centre. This especially impacts people who have limited mobility capacity, such as disabled and elderly. The perception of life’s security is also negatively affected.
- Due to the widespread presence of steep hills everywhere, especially in the neighbourhoods around the seaside, walking and cycling are not always viable options. Public transportation is used even for very short distances.
- Streets in Üsküdar tend to be too narrow, making it problematic for cars to circulate in two directions and even for pedestrians to walk if a car is parked on the sidewalk. At the same time, not enough parking space is provided. Both drivers and pedestrians are affected by this problem.
Overall the event helped raise awareness of the project and gather direct feedback from local inhabitants. The way to solutions and interventions is still long, but the Community is moving forward and upcoming events, such as the Hackday, will contribute to get it one step closer to the final objective.