1st Istanbul International Geography Congress Proceedings Book
Seferihisar’s sustainability in relation to cittaslow indicatorsÇiğdem Ünal, Besime Yücel, Fatih Kenar
Globalization and increasing urbanization have ushered in lifestyles that enable the rapid depletion of natural and cultural resources. As an alternative to this uniformizing lifestyle, which threatens the local dynamics of urban identity and populations, a need is identified for new lifestyles that preserve and transfer natural, historical, and cultural components to future generations in a sustainable manner. Although it is not possible to prevent globalization, its negative effects can be minimized through the adoption of a lifestyle wherein localization is at the forefront. Participation in the Cittaslow movement, which emerged in Italy in 1999 to protect local urban identities and to improve the quality of life in the urban population, is growing daily across the world. This movement and organization promotes sustainable development and the preservation of a city’s spirit as part of preserving local characteristics, particularly with respect to tourism. To participate in Cittaslow, cities must meet certain criteria related to environmental policies, infrastructure policies, and technologies and tools to improve the quality of urban life, agriculture–tourism–craftsmen policies, support for slow food activities and projects, hospitality, awareness and education, and social adaptation and partnerships. Cittaslow has 72 criteria grouped under eight main topics. To become a Cittaslow member, an urban population must be below 50,000 and must meet half of the criteria specified. At present, 252 cities in 30 countries are members of the movement, 17 of which are located in Turkey. In 2009, Seferihisar became the first Turkish town to participate in Cittaslow; consequently, it is considered the Cittaslow capital of the country. Seferihisar is located in İzmir Province, within the Aegean Region, and is a coastal district that has significantly preserved its local identity. A series of Cittaslow-related projects and studies have been carried out in various areas of Seferihisar, such as local organic farming, the conservation of civil architecture, the use of alternative energy sources, the promotion of tourism, and the development of employment. In parallel with these developments, the urban population has gradually increased. This study aims to determine how far Seferihisar meets the Cittaslow conditions according to its residents, indicating how it fits with sustainable urbanization indicators.
A literature survey and field study methods were used. Seferihisar’s population increased from 28,603 in 2009 to 43,546 in 2018. If the population continues to grow at this rate, Seferihisar may exceed the maximum population for qualifying as a Cittaslow city. However, the attained sustainability will continue if the district remains steadfast. The decrease in areas devoted to agriculture, pasture, and forest in recent years shows that sustainability has been disrupted. Based on the results of the research, measures should be taken to prevent Seferihisar from surpassing the Cittaslow population criterion, and serious efforts should directed toward the protection of natural resources.