Neighborhood Governance in the Pursuit of Local Democracy

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Çılgın K., Yirmibeşoğlu F.

PLANLAMA-PLANNING, vol.29, pp.102-114, 2019 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 29
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.14744/planlama.2019.55823
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.102-114
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


In recent years, many studies state an interdisciplinary approach to understand the neighborhood as a unique space in the city. One of the common propositions of these studies is that the neighborhood would be improved by community-based methods and tools. Furthermore, in the case of Turkey's urbanization, the neighborhood should have a privileged place in planning practice, including legislative tools and spatial decisions, because the neighborhood has such a potential to affect the community, thus the central governing practices. The neighborhood unit as an identical part of the city's history and structure defines a multi-level and multi-actor governance. Despite the fact that Turkey's urbanization practice shares some similarities with Western cities, differences occur in governance, and the neighborhood has been a subject of the approaches under local (participatory) democracy, such as civic society, participation, and decentralization. Thus, the idea and the practice of neighborhood governance are linked to public policy. Furthermore, empowerment of community-based participation in neighborhood organization is an essential necessity for both local and central democratization processes of Turkey with respect to governance. From this perspective, the aim of the present study was to expand the ongoing debates about local government by examining the neighborhood governance and most importantly by emphasizing the unique position of the neighborhood council, muhtarlik, which defines a significant characteristic of neighborhood governance in Turkey. The period that the present study is opened for discussion is important, because Turkey's new local election will be held on March 31, 2019. Thus, the present study also aimed to expand the debates by representing the requests and expectations of local actors and communities and new propositions. In this context, the institutional development of muhtarlik will be examined in two periods (The Ottoman and The Republic) and one approach ("New Turkey") with emphasizing the continuities and the paradigm shifts in the political, discursive, and legislative areas. The present study focuses directly on demands of Sariyer neighborhoods, which have a significant position in Turkey's neighborhood governance because of their struggle, empowerment, and solidarity practices against urban transformation treatment. In conclusion, influential principles will be reminded for local democracy, and suggestions will be developed within the base of neighborhood governance and muhtarlik.