Due to security reasons in Diyarbakir the SivilLAB program started in May 2016 in Istanbul and not in Diyarbakir as originally planned.

Istanbul is a mega city with a population of around 15 million people. This historical metropolis along the Bosphorus is the cultural, commercial and financial center of the country. The city is quickly changing leaving its residents often behind. Away from the cultural centers, new suburbs are emerging day by day. Therefore, not only the refugee crisis but also the quality of life is an important issue in the city.  At the same time, Istanbul is a hub for civil society actors, creative and young people.

The SivilLAB program in Istanbul is hosted by Anadolu Kültür, a non-profit organization in the heart of Istanbul that brings together people from different Turkish cities and Europe through art and cultural projects.

SivilLAB Istanbul focuses in its work on sustainable urban development and cooperates with different partners such as municipalities, NGOs, and student groups.

Fellow Profile

  • What connects you to Turkey?

A few years ago, thanks to a longer stay in Istanbul, I learned to appreciate the city, the Turkish language, and the culture. Since then, I enjoy the exchange of Turkish culture in Germany and closely follow the political changes in Turkey.

  • Why did you apply for SivilLAB?

The SivilLAB program unites my enthusiasm for Turkey with my academic interest in civic involvement and urban processes. It is an exciting opportunity to implement ideas with the people on the spot.

  • What do you expect from your time as a fellow?

I look forward to an enriching exchange of ideas with the project participants. I am sure that I will be able to improve my knowledge about the Turkish culture and my project management skills.

  • What experience do you already have in the field of civic commitment?

After working at an Indian nongovernmental organization for a year and participating in an urban development project in Egypt, I now look forward to new challenges in Turkey.

  • What was your most awe-inspiring project during this process?

In Cairo, we organized a cultural festival in an imformal settlement. The residents were extremely excited!

Charlotte Watermann

B.A. Social sciences, M.Sc. Integrated urbanism & sustainable design

Urban Design Camp in Başakşehir

How can we make our neighborhood friendlier? 18 students from high schools and universities participated in a four-day workshop that tried to answer this question in a practical way. The participants analyzed in small teams specific areas in the public space and came up with design ideas within a short period of time. Afterwards the teams presented and discussed the design ideas in a simulated "urban council" and voted for the best ones. The selected ideas were implemented with the help of professional carpenters using recycled material. The "urban furniture" is staying at least for a month on its spot encouraging local inhabitants to use their public space more.