Given the opportunities for accomodation, employment, education, enterprise and interaction that they offer, cities have hitherto served as attractive habitats for humanity. The appeal of cities only grew, in leaps and bounds, with the necessities and opportunities presented by the industrial revolution. Information technologies, coupled with the developments in the means of transportation and communications, boosted served to further boost the attraction of cities. We are now in an age that can aptly be referred to as the ‘Age of Cities’. As a phenomenon, urbanization continues to occupy a more and more significant position in terms of determining the quality of life for humanity as a whole.
The ratio of city-dwellers over the wider population grew from 46.7 percent in the early 200’s, to 55 percent by the year 2018. According to the reports by the UN, the ratio will continue to rise to 65 percent by the year 2050, effectively providing living space for two thirds of the World population worldwide. Compared to developed societies, the developing ones see much faster rates of urbanization. Even though Europe and America currently stand out with their high rates of urbanization, by 2050, Africa and Asia are expected to lead the statistics, with urbanization rates approaching 90 percent.
The rise of urbanization, meanwhile, reinforces discrepancies in income distribution, which is masked to an extent by the advantages of living in the cities. The “Urban Paradox” report published by UNICEF in 2018 draws attention to the higher levels of certain risks poor children in cities face when compared to their peers in rural areas. In parallel to these developments, the goal of “Happy City” rises to prominence for the city and the urban dwellers, as well as the humanity as a whole.
Population growth in the cities appears in conjunction with parallel trends in supply and demand as well. Accommodation, transportation, employment, environment, sanitation, social services, culture-arts, healthcare... On all the issues crucial for life, cities have witnessed unprecedented growth in demand. The opportunities provided by the cities, in turn, have yet to catch up with this demand. Traffic, pollution, urban crimes, and disasters associated with global warming are all on the rise. Problems regarding community health, social activity settings, social institutions, administrative arrangements, social services, security and so on draw attention. Solving the problems associated with urbanization have become a priority in the pursuit of the goal of a sustainable and pleasant world.
Kartepe Summit 2019, will be seeking answers to the question ‘how to make city-dwellers happier’ against the background of the ever-growing prominence of the cities in the wider quality-of-life assessments, and is thus organized around the main theme of “Urbanization and Happy Cities”, with a view to contributing to the wider debate, from Turkey.
The summit will provide a venue for invited scientists, researchers, decision-makers, policy-makers, as well as members of non-governmental organizations and the media to present their views and opinions, to propose to propose solutions for the problems identified, and culminating in an interdisciplinary shared wisdom shaping the Kartepe Summit 2019 Declaration.