Urbane Ethiken

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Vildan Seçkiner

Commoning vs. Governing: A critical investigation of the discourses of Social inclusion and Participatory Planning
Vildan Seçkiner (New Europe College, Bucharest/LMU Munich)

As a critique of comprehensive planning, participatory planning has been adopted by city planners as a method to include communities in the planning process since the 1960s. The goal of this approach is to gather the input for the planning process from the community members that are affected by its consequences. Today, the method is widely recognized by several institutions from international NGOs to European Union as an urban governance model. Although the rising cultural diversity in urban communities challenges this practice, it is employed by city planners as a principle of activist urbanism for reclaiming the right to the city.
In the meantime, following the critical theorization of the exploitation of commons by public-private partnerships, practices of urban commoning arose through the social movements in a broad geography from New York to Gezi Park in Istanbul. ‘Commoning’ stands for the practices that reclaim the resources of life against the capitalist enclosures, based on an understanding of anti-authoritarian community action.
In this presentation, I will introduce the concepts of participatory planning, the right to the city and commoning through an analysis of space based on the dialectics of the production of (social) space introduced by Henry Lefebvre in 1974. In this way, I intend to open up a discussion about the hierarchic power relationships in the production of urban space between states, market, planners, and communities, and among the community members through an analysis of two cases: The Volunteers Project of Istanbul European Capital of Culture Event that aimed at participation and social inclusion of communities in culture-led regeneration; and the rise of the Gezi Park protests at the end of May 2013 as a practice of defending urban commons against the public-private partnership model of urban transformation.