Planning education in the case study of the course of metropolitan planning in Istanbul

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After completing my urban planning degree in early 1990’s, I started to work in local government. It did not take me long at all to notice the great gap between education and practice, just like Tasan-Kok et al. (2016) pointed out recently. Every day, drawing cities anew that were never approved of as they are anyway and putting my signature under urban failures were all I was doing in the municipality. But the person who kept writing minutes and petitions in the Chamber of Turkish Urban Planners in opposition to practice meetings; that was also me. Besides, the same person was editing theoretical articles of academicians for a local governments journal. Despite their value, the signatures put under documents of the municipality kept losing effect once they entered the city, making them resemble drops in the ocean. They were being imprisoned within the limits of the role planning was able to play in urbanization (Campbell and Fainstein, 2005). And what is more, that same pen used blood as ink most of the time. The production of inequality never slowed down in the process of capitalized urbanization (Harvey, 2016). The meetings of the Chamber amounted to beating the air, with the rare exception of a concrete outcome: a petition. Because filing charges against a planning project, without even knowing if you will win the case or not, could be described as participation in urban planning back in those days in Turkey. The journal’s range and hinterland, on the other hand, was limited like that of an “island”, just as its name suggested. I was educated to be a planner, I wished to plan cities, I believed that I was able to change cities, that I was able to change the world. However, I was weak. So I returned to the academy, as a field of power, because the educational environment could give me a chance to forget that I was a planner myself. At that point of my life, I was far away from and oblivious of using reflexivity tools like Bourdieu did in Homo Academicus (1988).
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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