With "My City, My Future" project, participatory studies carried out not only for a liveable city but also to create a city where people will enjoy living, sustainable development is realized and that brings quality of life to people in all aspects.
There have been workshops and activities organized with external stakeholders such as citizens, youth, children, women, neighborhood committees, mukhtars, representatives of public institutions, universities, associations and academic chambers in addition to internal stakeholders.
Nilüfer Municipality was the first municipality in Turkey designing and implementing Strategic Plan in 2002. With this initiatory vision, the municipality implements studies to create a participatory, accountable and transparent structure where the processes can be monitored, and budgets can be divided according to strategic priorities, questioning its capacity, challenges, resources and needs. Strategic Plans have been generalized in Turkey by making obligatory for cities with more than 50.000 population after 2006. Nilüfer Municipality aims to create its strategic plans with participation of its stakeholders. So based on the previous experience the municipality improved its strategic plan studies for 2020-2024 and designed a participatory process with the understanding of "joint governance". With this context, during the strategic plan studies, activities such as Neighborhood Workshops which brings people with municipal decision-makers in 64 neighborhoods, children workshops, and idea-sharing meetings were organized with the slogan "My Neighborhood is My Future". On the other hand, the needs and priorities of the city were determined in the light of "stakeholder perception surveys" by ensuring the participation of all citizens in the process.
As a result of this participatory process, the 2020-2024 Strategic Plan was designed under 5 main strategic aims: Corporate Development, Urban and Rural Development, Social Development, Ecological Balance and Economic Development. According to these aims, projects related to the concept of "New Generation Nilüfer" have been prioritized while services-investments have been planned. "New Generation Nilüfer" concept refers to structuring a city by looking at the world through the eyes of a child or a young person. The concept takes into account the needs of children and young generations, who are not only our future, but also today's partners. Nilüfer Municipality has carried out joint studies with the Youth Assembly of Nilüfer Community Council representing young people living in Nilüfer from the early stage of Strategic Planning process until the last decision was made. In this context, a model has been implemented where young people can present their opinions and being included in local decision-making mechanisms. With "My City, My Future" project, participatory studies carried out not only for a liveable city but also to create a city where people will enjoy living, sustainable development is realized and that brings quality of life to people in all aspects. Activities and projects have been determined for 2020-2024 terms to empower local democracy by increasing participation, integrating arts and sports into daily life, and ensuring children, youth, women, elderly and people with disabilities to take an active part in social life with social municipal implementations and services.
During the designing process of Nilüfer's 2020-2024 Strategic Plan, all stakeholders contributed to the vision, mission and values of the municipality and all decisions are made with these contributions. Thus, these studies enabled the five-year-long planned activities to be designed according to the real needs, to be determined in a wider perspective and to be diversified. All these participatory studies make the project sustainable by identifying and implementing activities that can meet Nilüfer's environmental, economic, cultural and social needs. Direct participation of citizens, disadvantaged groups and other stakeholders living in Nilüfer in the strategic planning process enable these groups to increase their belonging to the city and to adopt the concept of active citizenship.
Comments of the jury
Based on an existing experience since 2002, the Nilüfer City Strategic Plan (2020-2024) was redesigned on the basis of 5 objectives and 27 strategic goals and 89 performance indicators, including aspects of rural and urban development. A highlight is the intention to generate local and national models and the focus on youth participation. The project is very well detailed, which makes it easy to read and allows for clarity regarding its objectives, implementation and evaluation.