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Spatial development - 24.08.2022

Multi-level cooperation in practice: How Marmara Region, Türkiye, pioneered a participatory approach
The Marmara Region in Türkiye is home to astonishing cultural treasures and diverse landscapes. But it is also a territory of great risks in terms of earthquakes, droughts, flooding and other natural disasters. As a result, disaster planning and resilience are essential to people's safety. Cities in the region must find more interactive, comprehensive, responsive and innovative solutions to these challenges.
To meet these challenges and broader development goals, the Marmara Municipalities Union (MMU) partnered with Istanbul Technical University initiated the Marmara Region Spatial Development Strategic Framework Research Project in June 2020. The project, funded by the MMU, aimed to identify problems with the participation of all stakeholders at the provincial and regional levels and to find solutions in harmony with the projects and activities of the various organisations in the region.
Specific objectives included:
  • Strengthening the integration of sub-regional plans, which have been prepared by sub-regional development agencies and which have not been adequately integrated so far
  • Creating a dialogue platform and a road map for local governments and other relevant stakeholders
  • Minimising the side effects and externalities of big infrastructure projects such as airports, bridges, etc
  • Creating a regional approach to maximise the common interests of all cities
  • Raising awareness on inter-city and interregional planning
  • Contributing to regional development in line with the New Urban Agenda and SDGs
Staff collected data from governorships, provincial special institutions, local governments, trade associations and NGOs located in the 14 cities covered by the project. This enabled the identification of the cities' and region's problems. A series of workshops with the participation of relevant stakeholders were also held to get their recommendations and ideas on the earliest results of analysis.
The project identified themes requiring cooperation between cities in the region and prepared sectoral programmes, short-term action plans and spatial development schemes.
The conclusions were outlighted in a three-volume Marmara Region Spatial Development Strategic Framework presented in October 2021. This action-oriented, flexible and participatory strategic document seeks to reduce territorial disparities, increase global competitiveness and local cooperation, and respect climate and ecological sensitivities in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
With this future-oriented strategic framework and the creation of a n effective platform for exchange, all the players in Marmara Region are now working together for a prosperous, sustainable and safe territory.
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