Istanbul's Pilot City Activity: Green and Carbon Neutral Building Transition Guide


Description of activities

Following the earthquake in 1999, Turkey renewed the legal, financial, and urban planning aspects of the Urban Transformation Plan, targeting significantly the country’s building stock. In 2022, 242,000 dwellings were targeted to be reconstructed by 2035 in Istanbul (the country’s largest city), under the Urban Transformation Plan, which offers highly large-scale opportunities to incorporate low-carbon technologies during building transformations. The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM) will generate a green and carbon-neutral building transition guide for low-emission districts to demonstrate the urban energy transition towards systemic solutions and ecosystems at local and district scale, structured on local needs, requirements, and boundary conditions. The transition guide will equally support the city to make the buildings resilient to climate change while reconstructing earthquake resistant buildings or retrofitting old buildings.

The pilot activities will address 1) the need for new and innovative forms of collaborative governance, 2) the need for social and environmental drivers and motivators, 3) the need for local community support and engagement, 4) the need for integrated planning and decision-making approaches, 5) the need for an appropriate market design and business model, 6) the need for balancing energy demand and supply systems, 7) and the need to take into account the regional and local differences.


Develop a green and carbon neutral building transition guide to reconstruct residential buildings under the Urban Transformation Plan of the city.

Are the pilot activities building upon or part of a previous and/or existing activity?

Although this project is not specifically a part of any previous/existing project, Istanbul’s climate action plans and urban transformation projects served as motivation for this project. Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has already an “Istanbul is Renewing” ( platform that aims to transform the housing stock at risk in Istanbul into safe, earthquake-resistant structures with subsidiaries, and to deploy urban transformation projects in the city’s old neighbourhoods.

Which emissions domains will the pilot activities address?

  • Consumption of electricity generated for buildings, facilities, and infrastructure

  • Consumption of non-electricity energy for thermal uses in buildings and facilities (e.g., heating, cooking, etc.)

Systemic transformation – levers of change the pilot activities will exploit

  • Technology/infrastructure 

  • Governance and policy 

  • Social innovation 

  • Democracy/participation 

  • Finance & funding 

  • Learning and capabilities

Stakeholder types that you would like to engage in the pilot activities 

  • Academia  

  • Research institutions 

  • Citizens

  • Financial institutions

  • Public/private partnerships

  • Business

  • Local NGO, associations

Transferable features of your pilot activities to a Twin City/ies 

  • Technical solutions focused on business models;
  • Sense of awareness and ownership through co-creative processes;
  • Practical recommendations on policy-making for the energy transition;
  • Business models that consider the whole process of building, operating, and maintaining green and carbon-neutral buildings and districts can help coordinate stakeholders and define their roles for value creation.

This answer is not exhaustive and simply an indicative one.

Components of the transferable features 

The green and carbon-neutral building transition guide and the green tool for participation will:

  • Benefit upscaling,
  • Feed into dissemination activities,
  • Act as test beds for co-designing and participative decision-making practices

This answer is not exhaustive and simply an indicative one.

What does the city want to learn from Twin City/ies? 

  • Developed and/or implemented financial models through which citizen participation is provided.
  • A city or a specific region/district leading to a green transition.

This answer is not exhaustive and simply an indicative one.