Urban Permaculture Project

Urban Permaculture Project: More livable and green cities with more productive and collaborative communities

Istanbul, TurkeyIstanbul, Turkey
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Urban Permaculture Project aims to transform idle places into fertile areas in cities with more productive communities. Communities transforms waste into source by contributing to fair access of natural and local food and increasing biological diversity of cities.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if cities could become fertilised as a mother who feeds and grows up all children in health and welfare by utilising their all idle places from roofs to streets via approaches of permaculture?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Settlement increases incrementally and areas where people could get in contact with nature decreases in most cities day by day. Consumption normalizes for human who inconnected to nature. 12 000 tons of 15 000 tons of food come from out of city to feed 15 million people only for Istanbul. It is crucial to transform communities’ waste into source and develop local scale solutions for needs in metropolis where consumption is at peak point.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

UPP which came real on the top the exploited roof a mall, became exploration area and source of inspiration for residents and especially kids in a location of Istanbul where consumption is on peak point. It brings a totally new vision for other projects of realty sector by reason of economic, social and environmental results. As awareness of participants of the project increases, demand for reproducing projects like UPP rises concurrently. All kinds of people who has not cultivated any food in their life yet, followed the project process to learn what they can do at their houses, work places and schools then transferred their experiences from UPP area to their life spaces.


Bilgi Young Social Entrepreneur Awards (participant of Youth Action / in collabration with International Youth Foundation, Sylvan Laureate Foundation and Bilgi University)
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Considerable amount of compost has been produced from waste of restaurant kitchen, card boards of shops, landscape and construction waste on the roof a shopping mall. We produced 90 tons of rich soil with the people who wanted to be part of this miracle. 92 various ancient seeds coming from Anatolian farmers met with our soil. People from all strata of society met up around delicious food which was cultivated in our land. The water which is harvested on the roof became sap for our plants. The unexploited area where mechanical devices were located became a place that bees and insect come and biological diversity increases. Transforming-documentaries and discourses were organized open to public for free of charge to create public awareness.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Almost all food need of Istanbul is provided out of city. UPP produces 12 kg/m2 nutritious food per annum. 7000 m2 UPP area provides 84 tons of healthy food which is enough food need for almost 500 people per year. In addition, UPP aims for transforming over 100 tons waste into soil at the project area and cultivating more than 100 kind of plants. It is predicted to give PDC course to 30 people and have 30 000 visitors for UPP each year. New employment areas will come out with UPP. Residents’ communication will improve and sharing will increase as they start to produce together. People who is in the process of production will have higher sense of responsibility. As delicious, natural and high nutritional value food is produced in city. Health problems decrease accordingly. Moreover, UPP will provide productive soil of city and not need extra energy to remove waste.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

As exhaustible energy sources will be used to transfer waste out of city and food into city, food prices will increase incrementally soon. When food prices increase, access to nutritious food will become difficult economically. Waste recycling and access to nourishing food will be more crucial problem in time. When people feel the need to produce their food in city, they will start to transfer a copy of UPP into their life spaces. As people, companies and government recognize that UPP is efficient way to access economic and healthy food, they will work for replicating and developing it.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

UPP is initially focused on developing designs for new projects and employment areas for new designers who will increase the predicted impact of UPP as demand for permaculture projects increases. We are in need of additional qualified people in permaculture to respond accelerating needs of cities. We aim to provide 80 new designers and give consultancy and design service for 3 different projects while earning annual revenue by the end of 2017.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We rub shoulders with big players to learn how they dominate and have a sustainable and strong role in market place. There is no any other company to compete with waste upcycle and edible landscape in city. In opposition to its competitors, UPP will reach consumers and corporations who has sense of social and environmental responsibility since it actualizes with less energy consumption and achieves to create highly livable and green cities with more collaborative and productive communities.

Founding Story

While Hasibe was working for the renovation project of the mall, one day she recognized wailfully dustcarts and tons of waste which was thrown to dustcarts . During she was watching this process, she started to think on ways how we can stop it and use this waste energy for more meaningful things. Suddenly, she said to herself ‘the solution lies in the problem itself’ and decided to upcycle energy which was seen as waste. she started developing UPP with the hope ‘if we improve production potential of a mall, it could be applicable model for city’. She realised that mall is kind of a small city prototype as its consumption habits and energy flows.


Hasibe leads to make designs with vision of permaculture in city. She draws a strategic planning frame for designs to reach efficient practical platform. While the project actualizes, 1 community facilitator is needed to form a participating project management process. 1 permaculture designer, 1 digital marketer, 1 financier and 1 secretary are aimed to join the team until end of 2016 to make project reach predicted impact by presenting briefs and courses to people and corporation which are interested in UPP.
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Hasibe Akın heard about the Unilever Awards in the finalist retreat of Bilgi Young Social Entrepreneur Awards

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:


Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Hasibe Akın is leading design and project management of UPP. She developed a special project for Maslak Campus of Istanbul Technical University with the purpose of applying UPP to university campuses in cities. She pioneered to express the permaculture to the university administration and had necessary permissions and acceptance from them to apply the project in the campus. She convinced the mall’s administration to begin UPP on the rooftop of the Akmerkez Mall. She did permaculture design and coordinated the application from the start to the end. She undertook to manage community who occurred around the project including mall’s staff. She led non-violent communication methods for participation of community as volunteer. Nowadays, she contributes to manage sustainable strategic planning of realty company project ‘DKY ON’ to actualize UPP. Additionally, she continues leading to structure community building and partnership relations process for DKY ON concept with her team.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

She got support to apply UPP at university campus from Emet Değirmenci who was our first permaculture instructor in the process of designing the project. We got opinions of the coordination team of UMASS (University of Massachusetts) Permaculture Initiative which put a similar project into practice already. Our professor Nüzhet Dalfes from ITU, facilitated between university administration and us for acceptance of the project by the university. Mentors who came to the finalist retreat of Bilgi Young Social Entrepreneurships Awards shared with us their knowledge and experiences about marketing, law, finance, business model, accounting, social entrepreneurship etc.