30 August 2007

AlSo: Kucukcekmece, the Unpronounceable Neighborhood

Woke up to find another at the house. I had been hankering to get out of the house earlier to allow for more walking time, and even though he had been up late the night before, Ben was kind enough to accompany me. What a spring chicken! On the ferry, we talked about his work and experience with EcoTopia, , traveling in eastern Europe, and his work with Platform, a London-based NGO that, among other things, creates commemorative installations for the people’s heroes. He had us stop at a borekci. I’ve never had borek. It’s great and certainly staunched the spinach craving I’d been having, then found Aya Sofia and the bus to Kucukcekmece (say it 3 times fast). Carbon offsetting presentation there was only nominally about carbon offsetting, but what it was about were research methods and findings relating to carbon emissions by vehicle type in urban areas of Istanbul. This was done by Sebel of EMBARC and World Resources Institute. FANTASTIC! Their study was funded by Shell, Ford, BP, and Caterpillar, which raised Joerie and my eyebrows since we had just been discussing CSR and greenwashing with Joroen, Sylvia and Corey. When asked, Sebel said that they are interested in improving the fuel efficiency of their products. Her powerpoint will be available in November and has promised me in 3 different ways that I can grab a copy when it goes public. I was seriously salivating. Ton spoke about his bike programs in Latin America through his NGO, Movilisation, and Andras spoke about true costs of sprawl. Later, he was gracious enough to agree to send me some info. on the data he has collected. Yeay! Eda presented on the future of Istanbul transport, which captured a number of the themes that had been discussed through the last few days. We all piled back in the bus and stopped at a parade of sorts, which we were told was for Victory Day (the reason Rick had the day off school). A few of us just got a little skittish when the flags came out and the torches and applause for the speaker who was positioned on the roof of a nearby building and hooked up to a powerful sound system. So some of us soft-shoed out to the nearby bus terminal. Corey and I had a chat with Rick on a few housekeeping issues while Meghan and Elly had a bit of dinner. Then Team Portland headed to the tastiest vegetarian durum place in Turkey. Oh man, so good! And on the pedestrian street in Kadikoy, which was also a definite plus.

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