MARUF23’s Four-Day Journey to "Resilience and Beyond" is Completed

Marmara Urban Forum-MARUF23 organized by Marmara Municipalities Union took place from 4 to 7 October in Istanbul. The main theme of the event was "Resilience and Beyond". Speaking at the opening of the event, Tahir Büyükakın, Mayor of Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality and President of Marmara Municipalities Union said "We've realized that it is important for our institutions and decision-making bodies to be competent in responding to global issues and to act together to ensure this competence."

MARUF23, which laid urban issues to the table with 140+ sessions, 20 urban routes, and 380+ speakers with the participation of mayors, implementers, academia, and civil society, started with the opening speech of Tahir Büyükakın. Maria Vassilakou, Advisor on Urban Transformation and Former Deputy Mayor of Vienna, and Louisa Vinton, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) also took the stage as speakers in the opening session. Rafael Tuts, Director of the Global Solutions Division, UN-Habitat attended the forum with a video message.

In his opening speech, Büyükakın said: "A resilient city should be the one that will remain resilient against a shock it has faced. We need to predict the potential risks a city might face. Climate crisis, food crisis, earthquake risks... Can we predict them all? The history of humankind shows that we have made lots of mistakes. Therefore, we need to build learning structures that will enable us to predict things. If we build open systems that provide both reward and punishment, we will have predictable systems."

"We become resilient when we learn from our mistakes."

Emphasizing that learning from mistakes makes systems more resilient, Büyükakın said, "By building an open system that encourages the good and discourages the bad, we can make uncertainty as predictable as possible." From a managerial point of view, we need an open system for resilience. We need a system that encourages good practices while punishing bad practices. We need to elaborate rather than complicate. Simple is beautiful."

An Orchestra Built from Recycled Materials

Events such as panels, interviews, guided tours in Istanbul, exhibitions, movie screenings at the urban cinema, urban library, and music performances were organized within the scope of MARUF. Fungistanbul, a band that makes music with instruments made of recycled materials, displayed a musical performance to the participants at the opening session of MARUF23. Holding the glass bottle and plastic suitcase used as a musical instrument by the band, Büyükakın, the President asked "Which one is more resilient? Plastic? Well then, which one is more resilient against fire? Glass, for sure", emphasizing the relativity of resilience.

MARUF23 Hosted the "World Metropolitan Day"

Cemil Arslan, Secretary General of the Marmara Municipalities Union said, "Marmara Municipalities Union is highly glad to be hosting the World Metropolitan Day organized on October 7 by UN-Habitat and Metropolis within the scope of MARUF. October is an important month for urbanization. Several events such as World Architecture Day, World Walking Day, and World Habitat Day are celebrated in this month for sustainable and livable cities. This is why MARUF is held in Urban October".

"Actually, we should have reached these goals centuries ago."

Speaking at the World Metropolitan Day event, Claudia López, Mayor of Bogotá and President of Metropolis said "We are not alone on this planet as human beings; we need to take care of the animals and plants. We have to design our cities accordingly. They need biodiversity-based cities, not subways. We need a multi-level governance for metropolitan management; we have to go beyond the political and administrative borders. It was argued that only 15% of the SDGs would be attainable by 2030. The things we should have achieved centuries ago are on our agenda as the goals to be achieved by 2030. We ask for global public investments and green solutions." 

Jordi Vaquer, General Secretary of Metropolis highlighted the fact that people have long described cities as the opposite of nature, but now we metropolitan cities have to ally with nature, particularly against the climate crisis.