After London and Moscow, Istanbul with its nearby 15 million inhabitants, is the third largest city in Europe and makes up the biggest city in Turkey with 20% of the country`s population. Istanbul`s rapid urbanization and its neoliberal transformation, that shifted planning priorities, are discussed in the documentary Ecümenopolis: City without limits *, directed by İmre Azem. The film does not only focus on issues around transportation challenges, which have arose due to the city`s urbanization throughout the last years, but also questions the transformation process and its dynamics. Interviews with experts, academics, writers, investors, city-dwellers and community leaders make the film become a holistic experience.
[...] The neoliberal transformation that swept through the world economy during the 1980’s, and along with it the globalization process that picked up speed, brought with it a deep transformation in cities all over the world. For this new finance-centered economic structure, urban land became a tool for capital accumulation, which had deep effects on major cities of developing countries. In Istanbul, which already lacked a tradition of principled planning, the administrators of the city blindly adopted the neoliberal approach that put financial gain ahead of people’s needs; everyone fought to get a piece of the loot; and the result is a megashantytown of 15 million struggling with mesh of life-threatening problems.