Istanbul is not an easy city to live in: its size and the humongous number of inhabitants make mobility complicated, especially for vulnerable groups, such as elderly, children and people with impairments (e.g. visually impaired people, people on a wheelchair). The Citizen Mobility community in Üsküdar focused on these categories to provide some infrastructural support.
One intervention, called “resting points”, consisted in the installation of benches to create resting points along the steep and narrow roads of the neighbourhood. 27 people were interviewed to identify suitable spots for the benches. The initial mapping exercise showed that the amount of possible users is even higher than expected. Each bench presents a sticker with a QR code allowing the citizens to obtain information on the initiative. A questionnaire will measure the interest of people. In case of scale-up, the intervention will be extended to other neighbourhoods that face a similar problem.
The intervention “Pave for everybody” focused on people with mobility impairment and aimed to renew the infrastructure of one street (changing colours and materials) to make it more widely accessible. This intervention changed a lot over the past months: at its embryonal stage was just about raising awareness, but it developed into a concrete infrastructure change through multiple co-creation cycles. In case of positive outcomes of this intervention, more streets could be changed accordingly.
Last, but not least, works carry out the intervention “I own my garden” were started: the Salih Solman Green Area is an important passing point that is used by citizens to reach public transport stops on the seaside since many streets around the area are privately owned and cannot be accessed. However, the park has poor infrastructure and is problematic during dark hours, since it becomes a meeting point for drug users and drunken people. To make it everyone’s garden and increase mobility through it, Cities-4-People Üsküdar team is working to improve the pavement and the lightning and increase the number of paths crossing the park. A neighbourhood gathering will be organised as soon as the infrastructure changes are completed to promote the pilot and gather ideas on possible activities that could be used to make the area more lively and solve problems related to alcohol and drug (ab)use. Since other parks in Istanbul face similar challenges, this intervention can be a good testbed to identify transferable good practices.