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For anyone who lives, works or loves Istanbul, please watch this movie! Ekumenopolis explores the development of Istanbul, as it attempts to distinguish itself as a ‘global city’. It asserts that Istanbul has become a “city without limits” and outlines how the application of neoliberal development policies have been  incredibly misguided and destructive.  The documentary enlists passionate and insightful urban planners, UN officials, social workers and scholars to  explain the current economic boom in Istanbul, and the sad realities that accompany it: the dislocation of communities, a greater divide between the rich and the poor, a lack of environment preservation, the depletion of natural resources, a dependence on automobiles, a lack of investment in public transportation, the separation of housing from jobs and so much more.

 It challenges the rhetoric we hear in support of building the third bridge, and notes that instead of easing congestion, it will result in more development, more roads and more cars. It challenges political forces that interfere with the development  of the city, and ignore the long-term development plan that already exists. It highlights the condition of migrants forced to leave their villages and move to Istanbul in search of jobs, and shows how this new economy,  and the “urban renewal projects” that accompany it have had a devastating impact on the poor. It shares how housing initiatives and the infamous profit-driven TOKI have failed to serve the people who need housing the most.

 As Istanbul’s population continues to grow, and more cars fill the roads, there is no plan to stop the growing inequities and environmental destruction. Istanbul is predicted to take over an entire region, without careful planning or preservation. Whether your issue is development,  income inequality, migrant workers, environmental destruction, public housing-watch this movie, and share it with your friends.

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEzqu_z9fRo

Read more here: http://affr.nl/festival_2011/ekafmenopolis_openingfilm_affr.html

Watch some of the film here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYSLIsMhAvM&feature=related

The movie is currently playing at Cine Majestic in Beyoglu (with English subtitles). Find more information here: http://www.cinemajestic.com/

Ekümanopolis: A Must-See Documentary about the Politics of Development in Istanbul

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