New urban leadership in the era of de-globalisation?

Between 9-12 October 2017 European Commission headquarters hosted a series of activities within the framework of the European Week of Regions and Cities as an annual event devoted to discuss contemporary challenges and opportunities of cities and regions. I was invited to give a talk by Regional Science Association in an interesting session on new urban leadership, chaired by Prof. Andrew Beer, University of South Australia, along with Prof. Markku Sotarauta of University of Tampere and Dr. Igor Calzada of University of Oxford. Igor, in his passionate talk covering the recent referendum on Catalonian independence and turmoil in Spain invited the policy makers to focus on the process of voicing democratic regional representation. Markku, using metaphors of football and Santa Claus, explained how entrepreneurial leadership may give places new identitiy. My stand point was to invite new urban leaders to focus on constructive diversity policy, especially at the local level in cities, neighbourhoods and communities. Based on DIVERCITIES project’s outcomes collected in the Handbook for Governing Hyper-diverse Cities we recently published, I invited the new urban leaders to aware of policy outcomes we elaborated in the Handbook to deal with diversity in cities in the era of fear and paranoia:

More information on this event can be seen at

Consensus hunters? Exploring the role of planners in the era of post-politics

I have recently co-authored an article with Dr. Esin Ozdemir, who have been visiting TUDelft as a TUBITAK post-doc fellow for a year while I was still working there. The article, which is published by Urban Studies, explores the meaning of “post-politics” in planning practice, especially taking the angle of the planning professionals/practitioners. Post-political literature, which aims to conceptualize the crisis of representative democracy, is very critical on the idea of ‘consensus-building’. Based on qualitative research data, our article argues that post-political scholars overlook the potential of consensus-seeking, and very statically defining ‘consensus’ as a tool for exclusionary practices and the agency of planners. We followed a more constructive approach to consensus-building as our research shows that it is a dynamic and sensitive process. We interviewed practicing planners in Amsterdam and learn from their experiences that in the highly institutionalised Dutch planning system consensus-building does not necessarily prevent effective voicing of disagreement. In fact, planners could facilitate consensus through accommodative roles that address disagreement by taking an adaptive, proactive and more human stance.

To know more please read our article, which is published as Open Access by Urban Studies.