A Holistic Approach To Development: Marmara Region Spatial Development Research Project

Earlier 2020, Marmara Municipalities Union (MMU) has launched a new project on “The Marmara Region Spatial Development Strategic Framework Document” in cooperation with Istanbul Technical University (ITU).

In line with the approval of MMU’s Executive Board dated back to 25 February 2020, MMU has started the Marmara Region Spatial Development Strategic Framework Document Project together with the scholars from ITU. The project aims to set out an action-oriented, flexible and participatory strategic document which prioritizes the targets of reducing the interregional differences in socio-economic development, increasing the competitive power with the world, enhancing the capacity of cooperation with the local, developing an innovative production structure with high added value, and looking after climate and ecological sensitivities.

The research project will set the first strategic framework document study at the regional level in Turkey. In the framework of document, it is aimed to contribute to the development of the region and country in accordance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Besides, it is targeted to present a study that integrates diverse regional plans which were prepared by different regional development agencies at a higher level of regional scale.

Within the scope of the project, cooperation between 14 provinces within the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) Level 2 is being carried out. These provinces among which 7 are metropolises are the followings:

NUTS Level 2 Regions within the Project
TR10: Istanbul
TR21: Tekirdag, Edirne, Kırklareli
TR22: Balıkesir, Çanakkale
TR41: Bursa, Eskisehir, Bilecik
TR42: Kocaeli, Sakarya, Düzce, Bolu, Yalova 

During the project, the priority issues for the region and country (disaster, transportation, logistics, energy, manufacturing, populations dynamics and settlement gradation) and sectoral projects will be determined, short-term spatial development schemes will be prepared, and a framework document will be prepared to provide guidance for the sub-scale planning  studies and research.

Global and local trends in areas such as global economy and COVID-19, population dynamics and international migration, climate change, natural hazards and disaster, information economy and technological transformation, transportation and logistics have been directive in the formation of the strategic framework document.

The Phase of Workshops Completed
As part of the project, MMU and ITU co-organized a series of online workshops to take suggestions of the stakeholders in the region on the document’s vision, to understand the current problems of the cities, and to examine the existing and planned projects. A total of ten workshops took place between 5 and 12 October 2020 with the participation the stakeholders including the mayors, senior executives and experts of the municipalities, governors, deputy governors, secretary generals of development agencies of NUT 2 provinces, and representatives of non-governmental organizations, trade associations, chambers of industry and commerce.

The workshops were moderated by MMU Urban Planning Coordinator Ezgi Çalışkan. Prof. Dr. Mehmet Ocakçı, Prof. Dr. Fatih Terzi and Prof. Dr. Gülden Erkut from Istanbul Technical University presented the main outputs from the Situation Analysis and Analytical Evaluation Report prepared within the framework of the project. Along with the report’s outputs, it was emphasized that the project focuses on the 11th SDG of "Sustainable Cities and Communities". During the workshops, participants shared their knowledge and experience on their ongoing or planned projects.  

The Marmara Region Spatial Development Strategic Framework Document Project Research Project, which aims to improve cooperation among different actors and create possibilities for new projects in the region, is planned to be completed in the first quarter of 2021.