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Changing Roles and Skills of Urban Planners in the Turkish Planning System

Authors: Fatih Eren


This research aims to find an answer to the question of which knowledge and skills do the Turkish urban planners need in their business practice. Understanding change in cities, making a prediction, making an urban decision and putting it into practice, working together with actors from different organizations from various academic disciplines, persuading people to accept something and developing good personal and professional relationships have become very complex and difficult in today’s world. The truth is that urban planners work in many institutions under various positions which are not similar to each other by field of activity and all planners are forced to develop some knowledge and skills for success in their business in Turkey. This study targets to explore what urban planners do in the global information age. The study is the product of a comprehensive nation-wide research. In-depth interviews were conducted with 174 experienced urban planners, who work in different public institutions and private companies under varied positions in the Turkish Planning System, to find out knowledge and skills needed by next-generation urban planners. The main characteristics of next-generation urban planners are defined; skills that planners needed today are explored in this paper. Findings show that the positivist (traditional) planning approach has given place to anti-positivist planning approaches in the Turkish Planning System so next-generation urban planners who seek success and want to carve out a niche for themselves in business life have to equip themselves with innovative skills. The result section also includes useful and instructive findings for planners about what is the meaning of being an urban planner and what is the ideal content and context of planning education at universities in the global age.

Keywords: urban planners, The global information age, innovative job skills, planning education

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