When locals expressed concern over a park's redevelopment, the Municipality pursued a participatory approach to its design and development. Through a community meeting and focus-groups, a mutually-acceptable outcome was reached between locals and officials.
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Problems and Purpose
The Kasdas Café located in Milli Hakimiyet Park in the Sahrayıcedid Neighbourhood was a popular meeting point among the community and chosen as an ideal location for a community centre offering health care and other public services. The regulars of the café were hesitant to accept the decision, fearing the closure of the café. Kadıköy Municipality thus pursued a participatory approach to the assessment of the functions of the café and the development of the surrounding area into a community centre. thereby generating a common ground to ensure pluralism.
Background History and Context
Innovative approaches to providing local services on realm of social policy by local governments, within the context of local politics, have begun to be generally accepted when one considers the studies and practices concerning the issue of aging in Turkey. Thus both the concept of social municipality and the widespread use of community centre and health care services for the senior citizens have developed over the last few years.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
The project was funded by Kadıköy Municipality.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
The residents of Sahrayıcedid Neighbourhood, neighbourhood representatives, regulars of the cafe, employees of Kasdas, elected officials of Kadikoy Municipality, municipal council members, Head (mukhtar) of Sahrayıcedid Neighbourhood, volunteers, appointed officials of the municipality, experts participated the meeting.
Methods and Tools Used
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Deliberation, Decisions, and Public Interaction
During the preparation process, in-team discourse was prepared. The field survey was conducted for the of the community meeting on 7 March 2016. On March 8, by contacting with the headman (mukhtar) of Sahrayıcedid Neighbourhood, the day, place and time of the meeting were determined.
An intensive field survey was conducted on 11/3 and 14/3. The briefing was made through a call for community meeting, which were put up at 212 different points in the district and the brochures of meeting were also distributed in the neighbouring parks.
Preparatory work was planned according to the information received from the field survey. The opinions and information regarding the issue were received from different departments of the municipality.
The meeting was held, with 220 participants in the park, on March 14, 2016.
The proposal of the municipality and idea cards distributed to participants.
Opinions and suggestions, specially were related with the improvement of the function of the cafe were discussed. The other issues that were mentioned were:
- Accurate information about the nearby construction site, which is a private property
- Request from the participants for the reopening of the café
- Come to a decision regarding the services that will be provided by the social centre and its relation with the café function.
- Election of representatives
Twenty people who wanted to be representatives with their own requests were asked to reconsider the functions of the cafes in the municipal parks.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
On 21 March 2016 the café was reopened.
During the summer period, two days a week, the Public Relations Field Team pay visits to the park to maintain communication.
The number and type of sporting activities were increased according to the weather conditions.
The children's playground was repaired and redesigned.
The local newspaper, Gazete Kadıköy, was delivered to the park’s newspaper rack on weekly base.
Technical maintenance of the café and disabled ramp were completed.
Different kinds of flowers were planted.
A cat house was located in the park.
The meeting was held for the second time with neighbourhood representatives and high-rank officials of Kadıköy Municipality at the local think-tank of the district, Kadıköy Akademi, on 28/04/2016 to evaluate the ongoing process.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
An approach has been developed that encourages everyone to take initiate for the solution of common problems. By providing a common ground for debate on the solution of existing problems, it was ensured that the solution proposals were embraced by the majority of the public.
All information in this entry is based on the original submitter's knowledge of the project.
Lead image: Yuvako https://goo.gl/Xq68Kf