Sustainability Strategies and Projects of Turkish Municipalities

Sustainability Strategies and Projects of Turkish Municipalities

Seda H. Bostancı (Okan University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5646-6.ch074

Abstract

Municipalities have variety of tools for improving environmental sustainability. The effects of climate change increase the renewable projects developed by municipalities and public private sectors. Turkish municipalities practiced the early steps of sustainability projects, some of which were small-scale projects. In addition, Turkish municipalities have gained experience in LA 21 Process since the late 1990s. Some of the city models for sustainability, such as CittaSlow and healthy city projects developed by Turkish Municipalities. The work in this chapter represents research about variety of issues for environment and sustainability in Turkish Municipalities. Visions, strategies and projects of these municipalities have been analysed to attain this goal. A literature review and SWOT analysis were used for the methodology to determine the Turkish municipalities' potential for sustainability.
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Introduction

Nowadays the awareness of environmental issues is spreading out to many countries. These multi-disciplinary issues have global and local backgrounds. Some of the local environmental projects have become models for other countries. International organizations like ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives) help the proliferation of this type of successful practices carried out by various countries to become widespread. Municipalities have a wide range of issues, such as urban planning, social responses, participation strategies, infrastructure, health, cultural services, and transportation. Many of these issues are also related to the environment. Sustainability and environmental problems are now playing a vital role in political visions of the countries. The collaborative participation policies for environmental issues are related to ecosystem management and environmental policy. “There has been a relatively recent push in the environmental policy community to decentralize the management of resources and encourage stakeholder collaboration through ecosystem-management approaches” (Campbell & Corley, 2012). The application area of these political decisions is found in municipalities. Therefore, municipalities worldwide create innovative projects and models for the environment.

The main areas of sustainability approaches of Turkish Municipalities can be divided into two parts. These are strategy and policy-based applications and project-based applications as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Sustainability applications of Turkish municipalities

In Figure 1, the tools for strategy and policy-based applications are LA 21 and Local Councils, strategies from Directorate of Environment, Sister Municipalities, EU Funds for sustainability, International Municipal Organizations for sustainability, social activities for environmental sustainability, and emission reduction strategies. The tools for project-based applications are sustainable urban planning, green transportation planning, waste management and recycling projects, sustainable urban transformation projects, renewable energy projects for sustainability, green public building projects, energy efficiency projects for buildings, and water efficiency projects.

Municipalities are strategic decision-making organs for cities. However, they have to act in a collaborative manner in this decision-making process with the inhabitants and other actors for more democratic and participatory management. When discussing the relations between environmental issues and municipalities in participatory process, the most well-known relation is Local Agenda 21 and local councils, which are parts of the LA 21 process. “A positive implementation of LA 21 presupposes a relatively high degree of local authority. LA 21 was labelled as the whole set of discussions around immediate surroundings and sustainable issues, and on the formulation of assessable local goals and concrete local actions” (Coenen, 2001). The visions and expectations of NGOs and municipalities may sometimes differ to a great extent. If Local Councils formed by LA 21 are democratic and transparent, they will provide opportunities to communicate with municipalities and groups or NGOs who have different political and social visions from the authorities of municipalities.

Municipalities have departments about environmental issues, with the main departments usually named Directorate of Environment. The sub-units for these departments are about, climate change, environment, clean environment, energy and recycling, waste management. These departments and issues change from country to country as well as municipality. The Directorate of Disaster Management is usually a separate unit.

Sister municipalities are international participatory processes for municipalities and these international relations pave the way for understanding the management process of other nations’ municipalities and sharing their experiences with each other. Some of these experiences and strategic visions are related to environmental issues, and this situation provides an opportunity to make international and innovative environmental projects between countries.

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