While the modal share for walking is almost 50% in Istanbul, a city of more than 16 million, current pedestrian infrastructure is neither sufficient nor safe. Congestion and car-oriented urban planning is degrading livability, leaving either very narrow space or no space at all for safe and attractive sidewalks.

With support from WRI Türkiye Sustainable Cities, Istanbul is introducing “parklets” to create safe, efficient and attractive sidewalks and public spaces and encourage walking short distances. In addition to improving walking areas, the parklets also improve road safety by helping to calm surrounding traffic.

Funded by the Partnership for Healthy Cities, Parklet Istanbul converts selected parking spaces into public spaces with traffic-calming features, aiming to increase road safety for pedestrians and provide efficient, welcoming spaces to encourage walking short distances, especially the first- and last-mile of trips.

The project’s activities include parklet and stakeholder mapping, analysis of parklet best practices, and a workshop with relevant departments of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and district municipalities to explain the parklet approach and collect opinions for pilot areas within districts, starting with one pilot area.

The workshop will be followed by a field study, interviews with neighborhood leaders, and focus group meetings with related NGOs and designers to discuss the design of parklets for selected areas. The pilot parklet will then be designed according to the needs of different vulnerable groups. Once implemented, a parklet manual will be prepared and published.

Cover image credit: WRI Türkiye Sustainable Cities