Planning disasters: impacts of neoliberal restructuring on urban planning practice through urban planners in Turkey

Sert Çiftçi, Arzu
As a result of the global economic crisis of the last period of the 1970s, Turkey has adopted neoliberalism as an economic policy in the first half of the 1980s. This political preference, which was driven mainly by decentralization, deregulation, privatization and liberalization practices, has affected almost all sectors over time, and the urban planning discipline has taken its share. In the following years, continuing change in the economic policies of the governments, the establishment of new institutions, increase in the approval authorities, inadequacy and/or incapabilities of the technical staff working in the municipalities and public institutions, and the collaborating of some of the freelance urban planners in the market, although some still resist, have all resulted dramatic changes in the planning practice and has resulted cities a project-based approach arena caused by short-term, flexible, fragmented, and political pressures in recent years. This study contributes to the debates of the process through urban planners operating in the free market. The study conducts an investigation using qualitative methods and adopting an empirical study via urban planning offices in the private market and interviews with key informants of the planning related institutions to answer why and how cities become today’s situations and the role of Turkish urban planning structure. The study highlighted that the starting point was the adoption of neoliberal policies, but the effective factors on urban planning process were multi faceted; politics/ political actors, investors/consumers, the market mechanism and urban planners. Planning is seen as a tool for rent and managed as a toy by capital groups and politics. In addition, urban planners are the only legitimate signatories of the system. Today, there is no planning system and practice aiming at objective and contemporary understanding observing requirements and gradual coexistence. The term “planning disasters”, frequently spoken in this thesis, aims to emphasize the negative effects of neoliberal policies on urban areas.


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Citation Formats
A. Sert Çiftçi, “Planning disasters: impacts of neoliberal restructuring on urban planning practice through urban planners in Turkey,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2018.