Governing the rural: The case of Izmir (Turkey) in the Post-2000 era

In recent years, among many concepts concerning space, concepts such as city, town or village fall short to account for what had been taken granted before. Lately, researchers have begun to question concepts based on discrete semantics such as urban-rural, city-countryside dichotomies too. The search for new concepts and definitions has led to handling of spatial processes such as urbanization that also include the rural. These developments inevitably have paved the way to new territoriality, which merged small units and absorbed surrounding villages and rural areas to form larger ones. A wave of legislative changes has expanded jurisdictions of metropolitan municipalities to regions. For example, in 2004 and later in 2012, regulations concerning local administrations in Turkey extended metropolitan municipality jurisdictions to rural areas in stages. However, institutional background and organization of municipalities that traditionally gauged to serve urban areas were not fit for rural areas and villages that were self-governed entities in spatial organization of administration. Therefore, territorial and jurisdiction expansion is challenging for metropolitan municipalities, in terms of institutional and organizational capacity. Accordingly, we focus on strategies, policies and projects deployed by Izmir (Turkey) Metropolitan Municipality (IMM) in the rural areas to show how the ‘new’ challenges of a metropolitan municipality have been met after the legislative regulations of the 2000s in Turkey. Following this thread, the paper elaborates on an innovative local development model, popularly known as ‘the Izmir Model’, a generic model, which aims to strengthen the administrative, managerial and functional structure of IMM but also mobilizes local resources through partnerships and collaborations for rural capacity development.
Journal of Rural Studies


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Citation Formats
E. Yetişkul Şenbil, N. Aydın, and B. Gökçe, “Governing the rural: The case of Izmir (Turkey) in the Post-2000 era,” Journal of Rural Studies, vol. 88, pp. 262–271, 2021, Accessed: 00, 2022. [Online]. Available: