'Bazaar' as a metaphor, accommodates both positive and negative ideas. The positive aspects are plurality, unity in diversity, competition in solidarity and festivity, while their negative counterparts point to commercialisation, commodification, fierce consumerism, and chaos. Architecture is first and foremost a cultural capital, the most tangible one, precipitating and solidly materialising in cities. If cities are the marketplace of such an invaluable resource, the need for their careful design and management is pressing. In spite of the overwhelming amount of funds allocated for the construction and rehabilitation of cities, the end result is often a low quality living/working environment due to the lack of expertise, creative thinking, and consideration for social justice.
The UIA Istanbul congress is an opportunity to review the global agenda of architecture. During past decades, the agendas of world architecture have recurrently focused on the concept of sustainable development, with cultural and bio-diversity taken as the bases of humanity. Today, against a background of natural disasters and global violence, we are ever more aware that our plural worlds are not immune to risks escalating globally on this single planet. It is this awareness of threats that affect everyone without discrimination that clusters the utopian proposals of today around the interrelated themes of ecology and democracy. The emergence of a "utopian ecological democracy" is said to be the essence of a new modernism.
The UIA 2005 Congress in Istanbul ventures to provide a platform where world architects can openly share their successes and failures, resistances and submissions, experiences and visions. With the awareness of belonging to a profession that constructs the spaces for life, architects will endeavour to establish new links with the decision makers, producers and consumers of the world’s cities.