Impacts of privatization on urban planning: the Turkish case (Ankara)

Eren, Şirin Gülcen
Privatization debate in urban planning literature is accelerating as commodification of urban space increases by the “tension” between urban planning and privatization. The limited number of studies on the privatization of public lands and its impacts on urban planning processes as well as the theoretical framework in terms of rent, rights to property, and public interest issues has stimulated the aims of this thesis. All these provided a base for this thesis. This Thesis aims to clarify the relationship between capitalist production and public property, which has been created in urban space through privatization within a historical context. Critical evaluation is centered around the differences in implementation, related planning approaches and processes, the roles of the actors, and spatial impacts on the neighboring areas and the urban macroform in case of a de jure-privatization of a public land in the city of Ankara: Meat and Fish Products Firm (EBÜ A.Ş.) Akköprü Slaughterhouse Area. How and why market mechanisms functions and reacts is analyzed in this case study. This Thesis argues that de jure-privatization and de facto-privatization conceptual differentiation might be meaningful for urban planning as the related processes and implementation function separately. Even though every “de jure-privatization (privatization)” experience has its own dynamics and is a unique case, the practice in Turkey differs from the world cases: Firstly, under the same legislation, Turkey exercised liquidation, donation, privatization, and socialization. Secondly, de jure-privatization is public land privatization oriented. Thirdly, as a nodal intervention, privatization has direct impacts on urban planning and the planned growth of the cities. Urbanization processes are not under the control of rational planning as these are completely left to market forces. In this de jure-privatization process, urban space is (re) produced by market-led planning approaches and public interest issue (in urban plans) is neglected. Market-led planning approaches became an act of controlling the means of “power”, ended the production functions of the state, and produced “spaces of consumption” while decreasing competitiveness of other spaces and treated public land as a “commodity”. Public space defined by the urban plan has become private space publicly used. As a result, public good characteristic of public space is lost. In other words, the demands of the market institution have priority for private interests and the rationality of the capitalist (re) produces urban space. The decision to continue production is left to the capitalist. Therefore, urban planning in the privatization process becomes an action to determine the real land value, to generate rent, and to transfer development potential and privileged development rights. This refers to a paradigm shift in urban planning. These outcomes challenge the legitimacy of both planning and market institutions. This thesis stresses that if de jure-privatization is inevitable, purely market-critical comprehensive rational planning should not be left aside for the legitimacy of the market institution and urban planning. This must be because; market cannot also be legitimate and trustable without the emergence of urban planning. Market should also be for public interest otherwise it would shake its own legitimacy. Articulation of urban planning with privatization for public interest could be than spelled. In other words, privatization can be accepted as an ideology by urban planning in spatial terms, if public interest is the objective in all plan hierarchies. In the de jure-privatization process, there are uncertainties, dualisms, and problem areas in terms of administrative action, (re) production of urban space, economic issues, and public interest issues. Without the awareness of these, (re) production of urban space market-critically is irrational. Conclusively, the de jure-privatization related planning processes are defined in this thesis to strengthen urban planning as an institution and ideology.


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Citation Formats
Ş. G. Eren, “Impacts of privatization on urban planning: the Turkish case (Ankara),” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2007.