Cities of possibility

Istanbul’s position at the crossroads of two continents is looking like an increasingly precarious perch these days, with violent conflicts erupting in Syria and Iraq to the south and Russia and Ukraine to the north. Domestically, electoral victories in 2014 by the country’s longtime ruling party demoralized those energized by last year’s mass anti-government protests. But neither strife nor political stagnation seems to prevent forward-looking initiatives from cropping up all around Istanbul...

Amid challenging and often depressing times, it was revitalizing to seek out some positive, inspiring initiatives for the 2014 GOOD City Index. As it did with last year's inaugural list, the quarterly, U.S.-based magazine GOOD again seeks to celebrate the "cities around the world that best capture the elusive quality of possibility" -- not the ones where everything is necessarily working right, but ones with a heartbeat of "creativity, hustle, and civic engagement."

Istanbul, which the editors ranked at #6 on this year's index, certainly qualifies. Though the energy of last year's Gezi Park demonstrations has long faded, around the city, activists of all stripes are buckling down to attend to the task of trying to build a better future.

Read the rest of my entry in the 2014 GOOD City Index: "Istanbul, Turkey: Now the real work begins"