Istanbul is underprepared for its burgeoning population, and the sustainability of city life will be at risk if the population continues to grow, experts have warned.
Debates about the sustainability of urban life in Istanbul have once again made headlines after the announcement of demographic data for 2021 by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK).
The latest official figures show that the population of the Turkish metropolis has increased by some 378,000 people compared to the previous year, reaching 15.8 million people.
Experts are voicing concern as the number of people per square kilometer in the province, where 18.71% of the country’s population resides, hit 3,049.
Pointing out that serious chaos can ensue in the event of a possible natural disaster, some experts say the population would need to be around 8 million for the city to be livable.
“Millions of people will hit the road after the expected big earthquake,” said geophysicist Şerif Barış, noting that it would not be possible to carry out search and rescue work in such a crowded city in the event of a disaster. ‘traffic jam. .
“This city can no longer accommodate this population,” he noted, stressing the need to implement plans that will gradually reduce Istanbul’s population.
Tayfun Kahraman, who is responsible for coordinating urban plans and projects in Istanbul Municipality, also said the city’s dense population should definitely be brought under control through reverse migration.
“New investment plans should now be based in Anatolia, not Istanbul. You won’t see 3,049 people per square kilometer in any country in Europe,” Kahraman said, expressing that such problems are seen only in underdeveloped countries.
Mikdat Kadıoğlu, an academic from Istanbul Technical University (İTÜ), said Istanbul’s population is now well above the limit values and a very dense population lives in a small area.
“Although the official figures are announced at 16 million, the population of the city has exceeded 20 million. Neither earth, nor air, nor water can suffice for such a population. Istanbul is heading towards collapse,” Kadıoğlu said.
Stating that it is impossible to eliminate the problems encountered without reverse migration, the expert also pointed out that great chaos and unrest may arise in the city after a possible major disaster.
“It is expected that 50,000 buildings will be destroyed after the expected big earthquake. I don’t even want to think about the chaotic situation that will arise after the disaster,” Kadıoğlu said.