Ecumenopolis: City Without Limits.
Ecumenopolis is a word invented in 1967 by the Greek city planner Constantinos Doxiadis to represent the idea that in the future urban areas and megalopolises would eventually fuse and there would be a single continuous worldwide city as a progression from the current urbanization and population growth trends.
The concept of ecumenopolis was first used in Turkey by Ahmet Vefik Alp, a renowned Turkish architect and urban planner, who variously defined Istanbul as a “a nightmare city,” a “cancerous city” and a ‘city on steroids” which has run out of its green spaces, water and other natural resources due to enormous growth.
Ekumenopolis is also a film by Turkish film-maker Imre Azem that details this uncontrolled, money-driven expansion of Istanbul as the city heads towards a population of 15 million people – twice the size of London. It sheds light on current events as prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s police clash violently with protesters outraged by plans to build in a city centre park. Istanbul wants to play in the big leagues. in 2010, it was the European City of Culture. It has its heart set on winning the 2020 Olympic bid. And the government wants it to be the financial centre of the region. Its population looks set to double to 30 million by 2030. But there is every sign that this unchecked growth is coming at a devastating cost. In Ekumenopolis, Azem dissects the reasons Istanbul is groaning under its rapid expansion with a striking aural and visual landscape and by speaking to a wealth of experts and developers. He also follows a group of families forced to live in tents after being chucked out of their homes, to make way for luxury skyscrapers. The lack of planning regulations means that expansion has come without adequate environmental or safety precautions. In fact, an estimated 70% of the city’s 3.8 million buildings are thought to be unsafe — and lying on a fault line. As one interviewee warns, for Istanbul the future means chaos.