The limits to urban revolution: the transformation of Ankara, Turkey, under the Justice and Development Party

Bayırbağ, Mustafa Kemal
Schindler, Seth
Penpecioglu, Mehmet
Contemporary urbanization is characterized by the incorporation of historically isolated places into vast urbanized networks that are planetary in scope. We underscore the political processes and actors that instantiate urban transformation. Drawing on Lefebvre's writings on urban revolutions - in plural - we show that he considered comprehensive urban transformation the result of multiple place-based revolutions that are typically driven by a state. We then present Turkey as an example in which the Justice and Development Party embraced an agenda of absolute national development whose primary mechanism was a nationwide urban revolution. We focus on Ankara, which served as a laboratory for urban policy experimentation from 1994 onwards, and we present original research to show how its urban governance mechanisms informed urban planning legislation at the national scale after 2002 when the Justice and Development Party embarked on a program of national renewal. This regime was based on the distribution of short-term gains but its long-term costs became apparent after 2010 and it faced increasingly fierce contestation. This case not only exposes the limits of urban revolution in Turkey, but it also shows that urban revolutions are negotiated political processes and inherently contingent, uneven and incomplete.


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Citation Formats
M. K. Bayırbağ, S. Schindler, and M. Penpecioglu, “The limits to urban revolution: the transformation of Ankara, Turkey, under the Justice and Development Party,” URBAN GEOGRAPHY, pp. 0–0, 2022, Accessed: 00, 2022. [Online]. Available: