5th Urban and Regional Research Network Symposium
Urban Diversity: Discussions, Policies, Spatial Planning and Practices
16 – 18 October 2014
Çankaya University, Ankara
Cities accommodate a variety of lifestyles, opportunities, approaches and economic activities dwelling upon a diversified socio-economic and ethnic social structure.
The fact that people with different identities and values gather in cities is not a new phenomenon. The issue of ensuring access to opportunities for all communities having different socio-economic, cultural and demographic features has long been a major area of study for urban policy and planning. Redistribution policies and provision of opportunities for disadvantaged groups to cope with inequalities have been on the agenda since the early 20th century.
During the recent years, due to international mobility and rapid demographic movements between cities and regions, urban areas have become diversified not only socio-economically but also culturally and ethnically. Contemporary cities are rapidly changing and accommodating a variety of social groups and identities more than ever. Urban social structure is not only formed by growing number of identities, but also by the increasing fluidity of these identities. This changing structure has also pioneered a shift in the existing literature. Growing number of studies argue that cities and regions which have a variety of identities, skills, cultural background and social structure are more successful in the global economy. In other words, socio-economic, ethnic and cultural diversity is considered as a value to be promoted rather than to be hindered. This new argument elaborates the issue of “recognition” instead of repression and neglect of different identities, and raises the question of how and to what extent the needs and demands of groups with different identities and value systems could be responded; and questions the competence of existing planning approaches in these issues.
It is evident that contemporary socio-economic and spatial policies in Turkey are yet incapable of promoting diversity and benefiting from its advantages. Both the society and the decision-makers have conservative approaches about urban diversity. This has also been reflected in urban and regional policies, even though there are slight alterations in the contemporary discussions, exclusionary and segregationist policies still continue, and a negative attitude towards the ethnic and cultural differences are displayed in practice. The significance of urban diversity for Turkey becomes evident, considering that the major criterion of a democratic society is to obtain social unity and to establish proper conditions for living together without creating ‘others’ and destroying different identities.
Consequently, the subject of 2014 KBAM Symposium has been defined as URBAN DIVERSITY: DISCUSSIONS, POLICIES, SPATIAL PLANNING AND PRACTICES, and answers to the questions below are searched for:
– How does Turkish society define “diversity”, what is the main attitude towards it?
– What is the strategy of decision-makers towards urban diversity?
– How do the Urban and Regional Planning processes and urban plans respond to the expectations of groups with different identities, values and lifestyles?
– What kind of reactions evolve as a result of the pressure exerted on different groups by the authoritarian attitudes of administration and Planning? Can we mention an urban opposition based on cultural, ethnic and socio-economic diversity?
– How do plan implementations and new projects affect cultural and ethnic diversity defined as a value?
– What are the outcomes of exclusion and neglect of different identities in urban space by planning?
– Do different identities and urban diversity affect and shape planning processes?
Eight session sub-themes, which have been defined in accordance with the main theme of KBAM 2014 Symposium are:
- INTERNATIONAL, INTER-REGIONAL AND INTER-URBAN MIGRATION AND MIGRANTS
- GOVERNANCE, GOVERNANCE PRACTICES, URBAN POLICIES AND URBAN DIVERSTY
- CONCEPTUALIZATION OF URBAN DIVERSITY WITHIN PLANNING FRAMEWORK
- DEMOCRACY, DIFFERENT DEMANDS AND THE CITY: URBAN OPPOSITION, URBAN MOVEMENTS
- EQUALITY, EQUITABILITY AND THE JUST CITY
- PLANNING PRACTICES, URBAN PROJECTS AND CHANGING SOCIAL PATTERN OF THE CITY
- DIVERSITY-SENSITIVE PLANNING AND PLANNING EDUCATION
- URBAN DIVERSITY AND DESIGN