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An approach to achieve the goal of sustainable cities and communities in turkey by 2030

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By 2050, almost 66 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas. According to the aforementioned UN figures, urban settlements are becoming the main habitats for human beings year by year in the 21st century.1 While urban settlements
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  1 AN APPROACHTO ACHIEVE THE GOAL OF SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES IN TURKEY BY 2030 E. Alarslan 1   1 Sustainable Development Goals Committee Member of UNESCO-TURKEY, HilalMah. 704.Sk. No:9/1 Cankaya 06550 Ankara, Turkey ebrualarslan@yahoo.com  KEY WORDS:  Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Overview of Turkey, Stakeholder Participation I.INTRODUCTION:  Conceptual Framework By 2050, almost 66 per cent of the world’s population wil l live in urban areas. According to the aforementioned UN figures, urban settlements are becoming the main habitats for human beings year by year in the 21st century. 1  While urban settlements provide better living opportunities for people, they are also severely exhausting natural resources. Thus, as one of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) , “sustainable cities and communities” is being promoted by the United Nations (UN). In New York, the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly of the UN in 2015, all member states agreed on 17 sustainable development goals by 2030. One of those goals is Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11) which addresses the risks and expectation for better and more liveable life standards in urban areas. SDG 11 aims at creating safe, sufficient, inclusive urban settlements through the concept of sustainability. To fulfil this aim, SDG11 also addressing some sub targets. These are (i) offering safe and liveable cities and efficient urban services; (ii) preserving the natural and cultural heritage of the world; (iii) preventing the negative impacts of natural disasters and epidemics; (iv) considering environmental impacts of urban settlements as well as air quality and waste management; and (v) adapting to the consequences of climate change and building up disaster risk management. 2  At a global scale, the process of urbanization is analysed in light of sustainable development. In this respect, the most effective way of designing a road map for sustainable urban development can be through considering SDG 11. Since SDG 11 is highly interactive with the other 16 SDGs, an integrated action plan might offer a better method to design such a road map (See fig.1). In addition to the integrated action plan, some urban models are complementary with the concept of SDG 11. These models include smart cities, green-eco cities, resilient cities, liveable cities, branding cities, and inclusive cities which provide many inputs to design a road map for sustainable urban development. As having a high urbanization rate, Turkey needs an effective road map to achieve a sustainable urban development. Figure 1:  Interactions of SDG 11 with Other Goals 3  2 II. A PROPOSED APPROACH II.1. Turkey as a Rapidly Increasing Urban Population Country The Republic of Turkey lies between 36-42 degrees north latitude and between 26-45 degrees east longitude. Turkey’s  physical geography bridges the Continents of Asia and Europe (see fig.2). To the west it is bordered by European Countries (Bulgaria and Greece). To the east it is bordered by Asian Countries (Georgia, Armenia, and Iran). To the south it is bordered by Middle Eastern Countries (Syria and Iraq). Geographically, Turkey is a peninsula surrounded by the Black Sea (on the north), the Mediterranean Sea (on the south) and the Aegean Sea (on the west). It has a centralized administrative system divided by 81 provinces. The recent population figure is approximately 80 million in Turkey  ( www.turkstat.gov.tr ). Turkey is a founding member of the United Nations and a member of the Council of Europe as well as an applicant to accede to the European Union. Figure 2:  Geographical Location of Turkey    Over the course of the last 70 years, Turkey has experienced one of the most significant surges of urbanization in the world. Recently, cities accommodate over 75 percent of the country’s population. Furthermore, they are prone to high disaster risks due to their dense population and construction in Turkey. 4  According to the 10th Development Plan of Turkey, the most significant urban problems are described as rapid and pseudo urbanization, insufficient numbers of descent housing units, traffic congestion, lack of urban safety and infrastructure, social cohesion, and environmental degradation. To surmount those problems, a set of recommendations was formulated in the 10th Development Plan. These include creating liveable cities by relevant operations in existing settlements and preparing integrated disaster hazard and risk plans to mitigate both disaster and climate change potential impacts on cities. 4    According to the Report on “Turkey Urbanization Review - Rise of the Anatolian Tigers” prepared by the World Bank in 2015, the urbanization experience of Turkey has a remarkable potential to provide a road map to the countries experiencing rapid urbanization. However, Turkey still has some difficulties associated with creating effective cooperation and interoperability among the spatial planning authorities. 5  Thus, in this paper, an effective approach to achieve sustainable cities and communities by 2030 is proposed by considering the concept of interoperability as well as stakeholder participation. II.2. On the Way to A Solution To make an overall assessment for Turkey regarding SDG 11, a detailed analysis was prepared by the UNESCO Turkey Commission/ Specialized Committee for Sustainable Development. As a Committee Member, the author of the paper prepared an analytical report on Turkey by considering responsible  3 institutions, legal documents and instruments, methods and process of implementation as well as human and technological resources in the period of 2017-2018. As a method of country assessment, a quick SWOT analysis has been conducted with regard to short-, medium-, and long-term expectations as well as the five sub targets of SDG 11, previously mentioned. As a result of the SWOT Analysis, the following country profile for sustainable cities and communities can be analysed: S trengths :   S 1: Turkey has sufficient institutions and legal documents to create sustainable urban development. In terms of technical capacity and personnel, the relevant institutions are also capable. S 2: While Turkey has a rapid urbanization rate, it has also large number of potential urban development areas. S 3: Turkey successfully reduced the number of squatter areas by applying effective policies and providing a sufficient number of social and affordable dwelling units starting from the early 1990s. 6   S 4: The issues of sustainable urban development have been taken into consideration since mid 2000 in Turkey. In the 9 th  and 10 th  development plans, some main policies and strategies addressing sustainable urban development were created. In parallel with those policies and strategies, an “Integrated Urban Development St rategy and Action Plan ” was enacted in 2010 . 7   S 5: The Central Government of Turkey made a significant attempt to mitigate disaster risks in the country by enacting a new law ( The Law of Transformation of Areas under the Disaster Risks) in 2012. 8  In terms of scope of the law, especially urban areas gained priority to mitigate the disaster risks stemming from precarious housing sites and construction that was non-compliance with the Building Code in Turkey. W eaknesses :   W 1: Turkey has not yet produced a macro scale/country wide policy and a strategy document for SDG 11. W 2: Turkey continues to experience difficulties in coordination among the relevant institutions, as well as difficulties in creating an effective institutional culture for interoperability. W 3: Turkey has not created integral development plans and programs for urban and rural areas. W 4: A majority of municipalities (local authorities) have financial and economic deficiencies in the provision of urban services. W 5: Marginalized groups have still remarkable difficulties in accessing public spaces, social, technical and some other urban services. Despite some new arrangements in green parks and public facility areas, the disadvantaged groups are not yet sufficiently comfortable and safe in the urban areas . W 6: While Turkey introduced a new law to mitigate the disaster risk priory in urban areas, some new instruments for public services such as land acquisition, housing market regulation, and real estate assessment are still needed. W 7: One of the main challenges of rapid urbanization is a migration from rural areas to urban areas. That also causes an agglomeration in and around the metropolitan areas. Some novel approaches are  4 required to create economic and industrial attractiveness in the small towns and rural areas with potential for development   W 8: Insufficient numbers of governmental subsidies and incentives regarding recycling of wastes might cause failure to achieve some targets of SDG11. W 9: According to the air pollution standards of the World Health Organization, entire population in Turkey is prone to pollution . W 10: For overall improvements in urban services, the concept of smart cities should be encouraged. Not all municipalities have the technical and financial capacities to apply smart city instruments. O pportunities :   O 1: Turkey has numerous urban development areas where new sustainable city models can easily be applied. O 2: Turkey is in close cooperation with the international and regional organizations e.g. UN and EU to develop the newest legal documents and novel approaches for sustainable urban development. O 3: Some initiatives and projects have been executed for the conservation of cultural and natural assets . O 4: In terms of disaster risk mitigation and institutional capacity development, Turkey has recently been generating projects. O 5: In terms of waste management, Turkey is in a process to generate various projects such as “Zero Waste”, “Sustainable Environmental Management Systems”   and “Energy Efficiency” . O 6: Turkey has been working on regional development plans since 1980s. In this respect, some regional development institutions were developed, such as the South-Eastern Anatolian Project Regional Development Directorate (1989). Furthermore, there are some other regional projects implemented successfully such as the”Eastern Anatolian Project”,  the “Eastern Black  Sea Region Project”, and the “Plain of Konya Project” . Finally, due to the process of accession to the European Union, Turkey developed 26 regional development agencies working on various regional development projects. 6   O 7: In terms of improvement of transportation services, there are many ongoing projects, such as “Development of Infrastructure for Public Transportation”, “Smart Traffic Systems”, and “Reducing Emissions in Traffic”.   T hreats : T 1 : Turkey has been experiencing relatively rapid changes in institutional structure, which has threatened sustainability in many projects and programs for approximately15 years. T 2: Rapid urbanization frequently creates failures in the provision of urban utilities and in urban environment. T 3: Despite numerous initiatives for sustainable urban development, not all of them have successfully prevailed due to failures in the auditing and controlling processes.  5 T 4: By considering the very high potential of cultural and natural assets in Turkey, more effective policies and legal instruments should be created. The existing legal instruments are not sufficiently integrated into urban development plans and strategies. T 5: While many numbers of macro scale policies and strategy documents have been prepared for disaster mitigation and management issues, the potential climate change threats have not yet been integrated into those legal documents. The SWOT results with a view to achieving to the goal of “Sustainable Cities and Communities” (SDG 11) also address the importance of interoperability among the stakeholders. The relevant actors/stakeholders are analyzed through two different categories: internal and external actors. In terms of internal actors, the main actor in Turkey is the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization. Other key stakeholders include the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, municipalities, the Directorate of Disasters and Emergency Management (AFAD), the Mass Housing Authority (TOKI), as well as other related foundations, NGOs, academic and research institutions. Furthermore, private firms should also be considered as stakeholders because of the importance of public private partnerships in urban utilities. In terms of external actors, the UN Development Programme and UNESCO can be described as the two main stakeholders under the UN umbrella. By considering the accession process of Turkey to the European Union, the EU institutions and Member States are other stakeholders. The international funding/donor institutions are also considered as the stakeholders in creating sustainable cities and communities. By 2030, Turkey will be able to achieve SDG 11 by preparing a strategic action plan highlighting the various actors and their necessary actions to take. Those actions should be grouped into the short-, medium-, and long-term programs. A coordinator institution should be designated to follow and audit those actions by organizing regular meetings as well as keeping the development reports from the stakeholders. In this context, a list of recommended actions addressing the relevant actors is provided below to facilitate the aforementioned approach: •   For the Central Authorities/Institutions:  An action plan for sustainable urban development needs to be prepared as a country document providing guidance to central and local authorities as well as other stakeholders, such as NGOs and universities. In the action plan, a nationwide strategy should be clearly stated by addressing responsible institutions and other institutions needed for coordination. The nationwide strategy should also consider the transboundary impacts of recommended actions, e.g. common projects with EU countries and potential problems with neighbouring regions. The action plan should lay out the short-, medium-, and long-term goals as well as sets of actions to reach those goals. The follow-up process is also important for the performance of the action plan. •   For the Local Authorities: The local authorities have remarkable potential to create awareness among citizens about SDG11. The creation of public awareness can be performed by developing stakeholder participatory projects. Local authorities should also pay attention to public-private partnership models for those projects to increase efficiencies in resources. While developing local projects, another significant issue is considering local priorities and needs. •   For Academies and Research Institutions: In Turkey, despite many research projects executed by various universities and research institutions, only a limited number of cooperative actions are available among them. However, multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional projects and activities will better serve the purpose of SDG11. In this respect, academic and other research institutions
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