Marmara Urban Forum (MARUF) is a biennial international urban forum organized with the motto of “Cities Developing Solutions” by Marmara Municipalities Union (MMU), which is a local government association in the Marmara Region of Turkey with over 190 members. MARUF strives not only to discuss the challenges that cities face but also to seek solutions to them and multiply good practices at a global scale.
MARUF19, which was organized for the first time on 1-3 October 2019 in Istanbul, attracted over 5440 participants. With the contributions of 66 partners, 50 sessions were held, and different approaches on urban services and urban management were discussed by 250 speakers from 25 countries. MARUF19 hosted plenary sessions, parallel sessions, roundtable meetings, workshops, networking events, exhibitions, field trips, cultural events, booths, film screenings for 3 days.
This year, MARUF21 will be organized as a “virtual event” on the theme of “Re-Think, Co-Act” and will bring together urban thinkers around passionate debates on how to make cities more livable, sustainable, resilient, creative, inclusive, innovative, and healthy. It will gather all stakeholders including professionals from cities, national, regional and local governments, private sector, NGOs, universities and other stakeholders that play a crucial role in the design, transformation and governance of cities.
MARUF21 puts forward an endeavor to re-think the global problems of cities after the COVID-19 pandemic and to create an exchange and dialogue platform among all stakeholders in an effort to co-act by taking into account local needs and priorities in line with the global agenda. Aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), some of the prominent topics to be discussed at MARUF21, among others, are: #climate change, #migration, #youth, #culture, #infrastructure, #inequalities, #mobility, #public health, #digitalization, #circular economy, #public space, #housing, #local development, #urban leadership. The localization of SDGs and urban solutions to global challenges will be addressed within the forum. UN-Habitat is among the main partners of MARUF21.
MARUF aims to find alternative ways for discussing urban issues to contribute to the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. In collaboration with all stakeholders at local, regional, national, and international levels, MARUF aims at:
- Analyzing economic, political, social, and ecological impacts of urbanization on humans’ lives and cities
- Raising awareness on safe, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable urbanization approaches
- Contributing to the transformation of cities to make them more livable and equitable
- Seeking solutions to the challenges that cities face and multiplying good practices at the global scale
- Discussing how to strengthen the role of cities and local governments in case of emergency situations and global challenges
- Developing information flow and networks among cities and city-regions