Solutions for liveable cities advanced at WRI forum
Protecting vulnerable road users was the focus of the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) liveable cities forum in Istanbul.
The FIA Foundation joined global experts and city planners at the WRI forum held on 26 October in Turkey’s largest city, with discussions covering sustainable mobility, the UN’s New Urban Agenda and implementing the global commitment to a safe and healthy journey to school for every child.
Alongside Turkish municipalities, participating organizations included Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Wuppertal Institute and the Government of the Netherlands. The Netherlands Consulate General in Istanbul has joined WRI Turkey in a new partnership to focus on sustainable urban development.
FIA Foundation Deputy Director Avi Silverman presented the Child Health Initiative’s (CHI) Declaration of Every Child’s Right to Safe and Healthy Streets.
Speaking in a session alongside representatives from the Bloomberg Global Road Safety Initiative in Addis Ababa, the Wuppertal Institute and the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, he said:
“Through the Child Health Initiative we have been working with partners such as the WRI to protect the vulnerable in our urban centres – a vital task if we are to make our cities truly liveable. The Declaration of Every Child’s Right to Safe and Healthy Streets is at the heart of this effort. It is surely a fundamental right for every child to have a safe and healthy journey to school. Yet far too often, this basic right is violated. Today’s forum has set out the solutions to protect the vulnerable, now we call upon policy makers here in Turkey and around the world to take action.”
The Declaration had been launched earlier in October at the ‘Every Journey, Every Child’ International Conference in London by the CHI with partners including the WRI and with support from the Mayors of London and Accra, Ghana.
At the Istanbul forum, WRI Turkey issued a report on a sustainable mobility project in the country’s third largest city, Izmir. The project, which has been supported by the FIA Foundation, addressed the challenge of Izmir’s existing unsustainable transport infrastructure. WRI’s Urbanlab İzmir Sustainable Transportation Project aimed to develop integrated solutions for public transportation and pedestrian facilities in particular. It identified a set of solutions for bicycle routes and bike sharing, pedestrian infrastructure and improved design of public spaces.
WRI Turkey Sustainable Cities Director Güneş Cansız said: “In collaboration with the FIA Foundation, we have carried out a project in the city of İzmir to improve the pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure for all citizens. And now WRI Turkey is starting a new project to promote the safe access to school and child rights. This focuses on road safety and accessibility inspections in selected school zones and Guidelines for School Zone Safety. Urban infrastructure can be challenging for citizens - from children to elderly people - in terms of safe access to transportation. We have been able to present sustainable solutions which meet the needs of society and make a valuable contribution to the wider urban development agenda.”
The FIA Foundation’s global partnership with WRI aims to deliver evidence based capacity building projects on urban street design to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries. It follows the principles of the Cities Safer by Design guide, which includes key measures such as: traffic calming and protection of vulnerable road users through infrastructure improvements; safer cycling facilities; and transit accessibility particularly for pedestrians linking to public transport.
The WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities works through its network spanning countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand and Turkey to build local capacity.