Urbanization of Municipal Solid Waste as a Socio-Spatial Phenomenon: Studying the Case of Ankara, Turkey with a Political Ecology Approach
(Urbanisierung der Siedlungsabfälle als sozial-räumliches Phänomen: Studium der Fall von Ankara, Türkei mit einem Politische Ökologie-Ansatz)
In Turkey, since the 1930s, there introduced various regulatory measures either directly or indirectly targeting the management and governance of municipal solid waste/garbage. However, it is not up till the second half of the 1990s that concrete interventions had taken place within the urban agenda, targeting the “so-called” modernization of waste management. Since the beginning of the 2000s, quite a number of sanitary landfills along with a number of integrated waste management facilities have been built to replace the wild dumping areas. Additionally, legal regulations in line with the EU legislation have been introduced. Notwithstanding these developments, today, waste practices are still pretty much identified with the scavengers, who are believed to mainly reside in gecekondu areas.
Gecekondu, meaning “built over night” is the specific naming for the self-built housing that appeared as a contingent phenomenon within Turkish urbanization scene by the end of the 1930s. Very broadly speaking, the emergence of this settlement type could be interpreted as response to the housing need under the rural to urban migration due to the excess labour power caused by the mechanization of agriculture in the rural areas. Being a form of informal urban sprawl, gecekondu areas have been mostly subject to gradual legitimization by amnesty laws since the 1980s; and rapid urban transformation after the 2000s.
In short, the 2000s witnessed the process of rapid transformation of (urban) waste management scene accompanied by the simultaneous rapid transformation of gecekondu areas.
Intrigued by the empirical case roughly presented above, this project aims to 1) explore the mechanisms lying behind the urbanization of waste and the construction of urban policy and planning responses towards MSW under the context of rapid urbanization in Turkey, with a focus on the specific case of Ankara; 2) to understand how the socio-spatial organization of (urban) waste is historically produced and transformed; and 3) to produce not only more insightful approaches but also a more comprehensive theoretical frame to such environmentally, socio-spatially, economically thus politically important issue.