Planning with complexity: The analysis of İzmir Uzundere urban transformation project through the advocacy coalition framework

Demirel Şanlı, Şule
Today, cities are defined as dynamic, non-linear, open, and complex systems that can adapt themselves according to various situations and formations and develop continuously in this direction. Planning is about a world-changing from basic and direct interactions to highly complex situations towards the fuzzy middle between technical rationality and communicative rationality; hence, it has begun to be questioned in the presence of complexity theory. With intensifying neoliberal policies after 2000, Turkey’s urban development processes have significantly transformed, and urban transformation has become a powerful intervention tool in urban planning. As becoming a political intervention tool regarding space, it becomes possible to argue the main objectives of urban planning through urban transformation projects, as the goals of urban transformation overlap with urban planning. Hence, to discuss the planning processes and reevaluate them from a complexity theory perspective, urban transformation projects and their implementation process offer a rich ground. In this context, the thesis examines a process that is constantly reshaped by the internal and external factors that emerged in the planning process, as well as the coalitions created by diverse actors, by investigating the events that emerged in the planning and policy development processes, through the example of urban transformation project being implemented in İzmir Uzundere. The advocacy coalition framework can provide a theoretical guide for understanding the complexities in planning processes, as it enables and furthers the understanding of policy changes and coalition activities while helping to understand the non-linear, emergent, coevolutionary, and self-organized context of the complexity in planning. In this sense, the advocacy coalition framework outlines the research framework by incorporating the current planning discussions. Accordingly, the research suggests how the advocacy coalition framework can be adapted to bridge collaborative processes with studies of planning processes and complexity discussions. It is seen that internal and external effects and coalitions influence the planning process of an urban transformation project even when the authorities and planners try to simplify policy-making and planning. In spite of the fact that the authority did not anticipate the fuzzy and complex processes involved in planning and policy-making, it demonstrated an adaptive capacity and developed new strategies by acting in co-evolutions to respond to external and internal factors and unanticipated changes and challenges. Finally, in a world of change, complexity thinking is seen to promote advanced understandings and productive strategies for urban planning.


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Citation Formats
Ş. Demirel Şanlı, “Planning with complexity: The analysis of İzmir Uzundere urban transformation project through the advocacy coalition framework,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2023.