On our planet, all natural ecosystems are interconnected, and they nourish each other. Rivers connect mountains with the sea, forests breathe to cultivate our air, winds and insects carry the pollen of flowers to regenerate life. They all come together and make the web of life, of which, we are a part. Life on earth is based on the circularity of nature.
When we consider the cities of our era, however, we no longer see the circularity of nature. Cities of our era absorb air, water, soil, mines and biodiversity from our planet. In turn, they deliver plastic waste, carbon dioxide, wars and poverty that are all very far from enhancing the web of life. Most of the time, cities are overwhelmingly centralized, culturally and physically distracted from other ecosystems.
At the Culture Summit of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) held in Izmir in 2021, we developed a new concept for regenerating life on earth. This is “Circular Culture.” This concept considers culture as the mortar that binds a building together, the drops of water that connect the roots and branches of a tree.
Circular culture goes beyond our daily practices that temporarily fix individual problems. Instead, it seeks a holistic transformation of our cities through fostering harmony between people and nature as well as the past and the future. Therefore, IZPA considers circular culture as the essence of circular urbanism.
Izmir is a 8500 year old Mediterranean port city. The characteristics of the ancient city is reflected through the city’s multilayered architectural texture.
The Izmir Planning Agency’s (IZPA) office is located in one of the important structures in the old city, Çukur Han. Çukur Han is a historical caravanserai located in the Kemeralti district of Izmir, Turkey. As it is mentioned in Evliya Çelebi's Travel Book, it was built in the 17th century during the Ottoman period and served as a resting place for travelers and their animals along the trade routes reaching Izmir.