Istanbul Declaration

With this declaration, the architects who came from all over the world for the XXII World Architecture Congress, to meet in the world heritage city of Istanbul, the interface between Eastern and Western civilizations, the wealthy north and poor south, would like to announce their hopes and expectations to the world public opinion.

 

The UIA was created by the solidarity of architects for the reconstruction of cities demolished after the Second World War. The Istanbul Congress, which coincides with the 57th anniversary of the UIA’s foundation, takes places at a similar period of war, which is demolishing the cities of contemporary Mesopotamia. For this reason, the major hope of the Congress is the creation of a world in which wars that destroy cities and architecture will come to an end.

 

The XXII Congress gathers in a country that displays a secular and modern identity in one of the ideologically most problematic regions of the world and that, since its establishment, has an intellectual background shaped by Atatürk's phrase "Peace at home, peace in the world". The Congress, in such an environment, believes that an architectural and urban field of action that aims for the peace and happiness of society, is one of the key factors favouring global security.

 

Global policies that deny the architectural content and creativity of cities and consider them as mechanical production and consumption centers, even using them with the aim of turning a profit, are threatening the organic integrity of the city and architecture.

 

However, this problem is not only that of architecture, but of all the people, because it is the reason for the alienation of societies from their own values and from those of humanity in general. As a matter of fact, the city is the place that gives birth to the virtues of civilization such as peace, human rights, democracy, and cultural identity throughout history. These virtues are created together with architecture. In the context of the UIA 2005 theme Cities and Architecture, the Congress underlines the vital significance of the necessity to question the political, economic, and technological reasons for the conceptual dissolution and seperation between city and architecture.

 

Globalization should not be a process that destroys these virtues. The XXII Congress, which believes that the current development strategy based on this process is a very big danger for the world, determines the essential conditions for the re-unification of architecture and city as follows:

  • Rather than the consumption economy that damages life and environment, a production economy that will prevent poverty
  • An architectural and environmental discourse that will avoid the elimination of the cultural identities of societies
  • Absolute existence of peace that comes before all other policies
  • Rather than an international dominance mechanism that imposes slavery to nations, an international collaboration that will avoid the pillage of their main resources
  • The universalization of knowledge.

 

The Congress proposes a collaboration and partnership among all parties in both national and international platforms within a globalization that is more humanitarian and cultural, and more respectful to the values of civilization.

 

The XXII World Architecture Congress has the honor to announce the common views of world architects on the following issues:

  • New policies should be established to consider the settlement problems of immigrants to cities and poor people as a basic right, as much as their health and education; similarly, new policies should be developed to avoid the utilization of urban land as a means of real estate profits.
  • Municipalities and governments should give priority to the creation of environments that will respect the life and happiness of the people, rather than land profits.
  • The development of an urban and architectural policy that aims to unify cultures based on historical accumulations with universal values, and that seeks to integrate historical heritage, as a common value of humanity, within today's world.
  • Development of contemporary architecture in such a direction that will avoid excluding historical architectural labor and creativity, and instead make positive use of this accumulation as a richness of "memory" that will produce a future with a specific identity.

 

The Congress hopes that this declaration will be evaluated by governments, together with all relevant parties, in the development policies related to city planning, architecture, the environment, and culture.

 

 

Istanbul, 7 July 2005