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28 June 2018

Nilüfer shares what winning the 2017 Transformative Action Award has meant to them

An Interview with Ender Acel, Nilüfer Muncipality’s Innovation Center

In 2017, Nilüfer (Turkey) won the first edition of the Transformative Action Award for their action which sought to increase civic engagement and participatory local democracy through Neighbourhood Committees.

Six months after winning the award, we catch-up with Ender Acel from Nilüfer Muncipality’s Innovation Center to discuss what winning the award has meant to the city of Nilüfer and what sustainability plans the city has in store.

- What has winning the 2017 Transformative Action Award meant to the city of Nilüfer?

As a local government, we bear tremendous responsibility for local development. Because of this, municipalities have to produce sustainable and innovative projects in collaboration with all stakeholders. The Transformative Action Award gives cities the opportunity to showcase their exemplary and innovative actions, which are inspired by the pathways of the Basque Declaration. We are proud to have won this award, as it gave us a platform to share our transformative and innovative actions with other cities across Europe.

- What sustainability challenges does Nilüfer face? and how has it sought to overcome them?

Nilüfer, similar to all rapidly expanding cities in Turkey, is faced with the severe pressures of rapid urban population growth, the need to rapidly expand building stock and urban infrastructure, as well as the need to address the negative dimensions of this phenomenon - loss of natural habitat and peri-urban agricultural land, urban green areas and biodiversity.

In Nilüfer, we have chosen to strengthen our social base, in line with the spirit of the Basque Declaration, via grassroots organisations, in particular through Neighborhood Committees, the Nilüfer Innovation Center and the Energy Cooperative. These initiatives provide an excellent opportunity to raise awareness and prepare social responses to climate change via wide-spread consensus and co-creation.

- How have the pathways of the Basque Declaration guided Nilüfer in its transition to become more sustainable and inclusive?

Nilüfer is currently in the process of creating its new five year Strategic Plan (2019-2024), which includes input and participation from all stakeholders. In order to gather feedback and input, Nilüfer Municipality is organising workshops and working groups around political, environmental, social, technological, economic and legal issues.

The Strategic Plan will be guided by and framed along the lines of the 15 pathways of the Basque Declaration, in order to achieve Nilüfer’s socio-cultural, socio-economic and technological transformation. This approach will help accelerate and enhance the quality of life in Nilüfer and will help ensure Nilüfer becomes a more livable, inclusive, and ultimately a happy city. 

- What future sustainability plans does Nilüfer have?

Nilüfer’s future sustainability action plans are mostly related to clean energy and climate change issues. The city has already prepared a Sustainable Energy Action Plan as well as a Mayors Adapt Climate Adaptation Plan. Nilüfer is also part of an international Smart Cities and Communities Project, which aims to prepare a transition strategy to help Nilüfer become a smart, resilient city by 2030.  

- If you were to encourage cities to apply for this year's award, what would you say?

Local governments are at the forefront of creating livable and sustainable cities through their innovative action and plans. All transformative actions show us innovative solutions and approaches to tackle local challenges.

Cities should share their projects via the Sustainable Cities Platform’s and Transformative Action Award, to inspire others. This is how we can build better societies for a brighter future.

The Transformative Action Award is a perfect tool to showcase your city’s actions to other cities across Europe; it is a tool for inspiration, success and sustainability.

It has been a great honor to receive this award and we are proud of our work and the recognition it has brought to our city. Share your inspiring Transformative Actions by applying for 2018 Transformative Action Award, whilst obtaining recognition across Europe!

For more information about Nilüfer’s Transformative Action and to apply for the 2018 Transformative Action Award, click here. This year’s Award holds a prize of 10.000 EUR for the winner.