In 2009, the Urban Age focuses on Istanbul and extends its investigations into the links between the social characteristics and the physical form of global cities. Istanbul's strategic location makes it a vital reference for understanding urban trends in South East Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. A conference on 4–6 November 2009 will follow a year of research and analysis of the key issues focusing Istanbul's recent growth, including how its transcontinental terrain has established the city at the centre of the Turkish economy.
Almost 40% of Turkey's industrial activity and 50% of the country's total service sector contribute to significant concentrations of wealth, yet high levels of segregation and the proliferation of informal, precarious settlements housing half of Istanbul's residents challenge attempts to manage its urban growth and the effects of climate change across the region. Protecting the city's natural and historical resources, reducing pollution, and balancing quality of life for a population that has doubled in the past 20 years are urgent issues.
Urban Age will explore how Istanbul's evolving polycentric form, shaped as much by its recently extended administrative boundaries, decentralized national policies, increased investment in public transport as well as new commercial and residential developments in outlying enclaves, addresses social inclusion for a culturally diverse population.
In parallel to these activities, the third annual Deutsche Bank Urban Age Award, created to encourage people to take responsibility for their cities and to form new alliances to improve the lives of urban citizens, will recognize a project in the Istanbul metropolitan area. Following an open call for entries and review by an independent jury, the winner of the $100,000 USD award will be announced on 4 November 2009 at a reception inaugurating the Urban Age Istanbul Conference.