The first consultation meeting of the 2nd World Forum on Intermediary Cities, which will be held on 4-8 October 2021 in Kütahya, Turkey, took place virtually on April 30, 2021 under the theme of re-inventing local democracy.
Prof. Alim Işık, Mayor of Kütahya, took the floor to deliver his opening remarks during the the first meeting and highlighted the importance of the Forum for the city of Kütahya and the region. He also shared his thoughts on local democracy. Following the mayor, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General Mehmet Duman delivered his opening remarks. Duman said that intermediary cities, as modest urban spheres in unique proximity to the citizens, are convenient application areas for the theoretical frameworks of local democracy.
He pointed out the importance of the fact that UCLG’s two important events, namely the 2nd World Forum on Intermediary Cities (I-Cities) to be hosted by Kütahya Municipality and the 4th UCLG Culture Summit to be hosted by Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, will be held in the MEWA Region this year.
Nidai Güngördü, Mayor of Kyrenia in TRNC and President of UCLG-MEWA Committee on Culture, was among the speakers and emphasized that local governments are the cradle of democracy. He also said that the municipality has been using online platforms for citizen participation in these challenging times.
Ülgür Gökhan, Mayor of Çanakkale, Turkey, said: “While citizens want a solution, they also want their suggestions to be heard. For this reason, as Çanakkale Municipality, we consider it important that the budget is set as a result of a participatory process.”
On 3 May 2021, the second consultation meeting began under the theme of “Intermediary Cities & Caring Places.” “Kütahya is an ideal intermediary city as well as a ceramic city. Our city was the first Turkish city to be accepted into the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in 2017 under the category of Crafts and Folk Art thanks to its cultural heritage, especially tile art. It is the only city still representing Turkey in this category” said Prof. Işık, Mayor of Kütahya, speaking at the meeting.
Afterwards, Zinnur Açıkgöz, Mayor of Gebze in Istanbul, took the floor, pointing out how this pandemic has been an opportunity for local governments to learn to be resilient by working day in and day out trying to meet the needs of their citizens.
Held on 7 May 2021, the 3rd meeting of the consultations addressed theme of “Ecological Transition.” Speaking at the meeting, İsmail Yetişkin, Mayor of Seferihisar, said that with the Cittaslow philosophy, self-sufficient cities that are compatible with nature will be a realistic alternative.
The last meeting of the consultations was held on 10 May 2021 and tackled intermediary cities through the lens of “inequalities.”