Cities and Urbanization

How this Turkish city went from dumping ground to destination

Eskisehir has undergone a remarkable transformation. Image: REUTERS/Tan Shung

Madeleine Galvin

Research Assistant, WRI Ross Center For Sustainable Cities

Anne Maassen

Urban Innovation & Finance Associate, WRI Ross Center For Sustainable Cities

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After a devastating earthquake, Eskişehir’s government and civil society embarked on a 25-year effort to rebuild and revitalize the city. Image: Kyle LaFerriere
WRI Ross. Eski?ehir, TurkeyTown of Eski?ehirDr. Yilmaz BÜYÜKER?EN is the Mayor of Eski?ehir, Turkey.
Mayor Yilmaz Büyükerşen reimagined the city of Eskişehir after decades of decline. Image: Kyle LaFerriere

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WRI Ross. Eski?ehir, TurkeyTown of Eski?ehirThe municipality of Eski?ehir, Turkey has worked tirelessly for over 25 years to improve urban life. Significant innovations have resulted in positive economic, social, and environmental impacts—and an overwhelming civic pride.
Eskişehir is Turkey’s 11th largest city and, after a 25-year revitalization effort, a model for sustainability and inclusivity. Image: Kyle LaFerriere
WRI Ross. Eski?ehir, TurkeyTown of Eski?ehirThe municipality of Eski?ehir, Turkey has worked tirelessly for over 25 years to improve urban life. Significant innovations have resulted in positive economic, social, and environmental impacts—and an overwhelming civic pride.
In Eskişehir, Turkey, innovations like car-free pedestrian streets have resulted in economic, social and environmental gains — as well as overwhelming civic pride. Image: Kyle LaFerriere
WRI Ross. Eski?ehir, TurkeyTown of Eski?ehirEmel Kapanoglu uses a wheelchair to get around. In recent years, the Eski?ehir Metropolitan Municipality has been implementing a Transportation Master Plan, which prioritizes integrated mobility and accessibility. As a result, Emel finds herself moving around the entire city in ways she did not in the past—using sidewalks, ramps, bridges, and trams.
Emel Kapanoğlu, an advocate for people with special mobility needs, finds Eskişehir easier to navigate via wheelchair after upgrades to streets, bridges and public transport. Image: Kyle LaFerriere
WRI Ross. Eski?ehir, TurkeyTown of Eski?ehirTwo decades ago, the Porsuk River served as a glorified dumping site for Eskisehir, a university city in the hills south of Istanbul. Industrial and residential waste had accumulated for years and the river was classified as one of the region’s most polluted bodies of water. Eskisehir Metropolitan Municipality created the Eskisehir Urban Development Project to restore the Porsuk River and build up a series of parks along its banks.
Over two decades, restoration efforts transformed the Porsuk River from a toxic dumpsite back into a treasured destination for recreation. Image: Kyle LaFerriere
WRI Ross. Eski?ehir, TurkeyTown of Eski?ehirFatma Korkmaz is an employee of the town of Eski?ehir. Fatma Korkmaz is a driver for the town's electric tram that provides public transportation for residents and tourists of Eski?ehir, Turkey.
Fatma Korkmaz is a driver for Eskişehir’s electric tram. The tram has not only modernized the city’s transport, but changed its social fabric. Image: Kyle LaFerriere
WRI Ross. Eski?ehir, TurkeyTown of Eski?ehirMustafa Kür?at Elitok, a student at Anadolu University in Eski?ehir, Turkey, walks into class with a classmate.
Mustafa Kürşat Elitok, a student in Eskişehir, walks with a classmate along the city’s improved streets. Image: Kyle LaFerriere
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