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Mapping out smart city initiatives in the Turkish context

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2019
Can, Deniz
In 2008, urban population exceeded rural population for the first time in history due to rapid growth in urban areas. While urban population constituted only 34% of the world population in 1960, this ratio is projected to outpace 68% by year 2050. Constantly increasing population in cities becomes the main generator of social, economic and environmental values, thus creating a vicious cycle of migration to urban areas in pursuit of these generated values. Worldwide population increase trends in cities created manifold complicated problems. With the excessive populations in cities, both consumption of resources and production of waste also increased to a critical point. These anthropocentric activities cause irreversible environmental deterioration, unequal social structure as well as management and infrastructure problems that increased consumption and production necessitates. This situation unveiled that traditional urban planning and development approaches would not be enough for complex urban problems emerged with rapid urbanization processes. The recent developments in innovative technologies direct to the constitution of a new planning and development approach which would acknowledge contemporary issues of cities and respond to complex urban challenges. An umbrella term, “smart city” recently emerged in order to initiate an attempt to tackle the complex problems in cities with the development of new technologies. Smart city approach in city planning addresses issues, which stem from urbanization and, uses the opportunities information and communication technologies offer, in order to seek sustainability in economic, social and environmental contexts. This research aims to compile and assess smart city initiatives in the Turkish context with regards to several different global trends in this domain. While first National Smart City Policy document has been prepared in 2019 by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, the understanding of this concept has gained major importance. Smart city strategies, initiatives and attempts of all relevant Turkish administrative bodies are examined in-depth (both at national and local levels) to portray a holistic framework of smart city approach in Turkey. This framework is thus critically evaluated with reference to global trends and approaches in smart city vision.