The Open & Agile Smart Cities network (OASC) welcomes two new members: Istanbul and Izmir have joined the network – underlining their ambition as leaders of a sustainable and open digital transformation of the public sector.
Istanbul is the largest metropolis in Turkey with more than 16 million inhabitants. Connecting Europe and Asia, the city is a cultural and economic hub generating almost a third of the Turkish national income. With almost a third of its population younger than 25 years, the city actively embraces digitalisation.
“We will adopt a transparent and participatory philosophy of local governance in our Istanbul City. We are planning to work to empathise with all segments of society and value the participation of everyone, ensuring representation of the majority of people, not the few” says Ekrem Imamoğlu, Mayor of Istanbul.
Istanbul follows a philosophy of cooperation to build a creative, fair and innovative city. Therefore, the city has used smart solutions and strategies to address and solve challenges. Earlier this year, for example, Istanbul has launched its open data portal.
As part of Open & Agile Smart Cities, the city aims to reach Istanbulites and other communities transparently and responsibly developing smart solutions. As Mayor Imamoğlu says: “We will succeed together”.
Izmir: Putting Citizens at the Centre
Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, representing almost 5 million inhabitants, puts citizens at the centre of its policies and strategies by facilitating involvement, engagement, and equal access to all municipal services.
Digitalisation practices, exchanging, and learning from other cities help the City of Izmir to overcome challenges while building constructive, holistic, and transparent approaches: “To overcome today’s crisis and find new solutions together, we need to create more occasions to convene, exchange ideas and experiences,” says Tunç Soyer, Mayor of Izmir.
In this sense, OASC is of vital importance for Izmir in terms of harmonising with digitalisation. Being smart is a necessity of local governance for better and sustainable decisions to create a more liveable, prosperous, and inclusive city.
As Tunç Soyer, Mayor of Izmir said at Smart City Expo World Congress: “Only when democracy meets technology are we able to open new channels to carry democratic values to the people and show them that democracy remains mankind’s best innovation.”
The cooperation with OASC will provide great opportunities for Izmir in terms of developing more transparent, democratic, and accessible digital solutions with exchanging experiences and perspectives of other OASC members.
A Growing Network of Cities & Communities
“These are exciting times for OASC,” says Davor Meersman, CEO of Open & Agile Smart Cities. “The foundation of OASC Turkey, with the megacities Istanbul and Izmir in the lead, shows that we are on the right track: openness, interoperability and transparency are key to the successful digital transformation of the public sector. We are one step away from a global market where urban digital solutions can scale for the benefit of the economy, the cities and their citizens.”