Important step towards the democratisation of decision-making and urban planning

Büyükçekmece Municipality Meeting

Following the Validation Workshop, the team paid a visit to the Büyükçekmece Municipality to make an overall evaluation of the activities conducted so far and further discuss how to incorporate these efforts into the Municipality’s plans and working modalities. The meeting was attended by the Deputy Mayor Nuraydın Sak, and directors and deputy directors of Planning and Project, Strategy Development and Zoning Departments. 

The municipality authorities have expressed that they found the whole organisation, the TCDSE model and its application quite successful. The build up of the activities from separate community group meetings to general workshop and finally having communities and municipalities gather to discuss was a unique way to engage with the community. The discussions and decisions normally made by the desk by professionals and designated decision-makers were brought to an open forum and this significantly enriched the conversations, providing a new perspective to the authorities and also gave them a chance to communicate reasons behind certain decisions to the community members. 

Büyükçekmece and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipalities have also been making efforts to strengthen the participatory features of their planning and trying to involve community members at different levels, but these were mostly one-off events. TCDSE, on the other hand, stands out as a whole process very delicately organised by experts from several different disciplines. Therefore, the Büyükçekmece Municipality showed great interest in knowing more about how they can include future visioning type of exercises, and adopt the participatory, bottom-to-top approach in their own planning works. The municipality’s recognition of the community members’ opinions can be considered an important step towards the democratisation of planning and other decision-making processes, as well as improved transparency and accountability.