A New Perspective on the Processes of Adaptation and Integration of Urban Refugees: A Social Innovation Experiment Aimed at Building Inclusive Cities

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Özbakır B. A. (Executive), Kurtarır E., Biricik G., Kırdar M. G.

TUBITAK Project, 2018 - 2020

  • Project Type: TUBITAK Project
  • Begin Date: May 2018
  • End Date: November 2020

Project Abstract

Project Summary

With the mass migration from Syria since 2012, Turkey has transformed from a transit country to a host country with the greatest number of migrants worldwide. A migration of this magnitude, however, caught Turkey unprepared legally, administratively and socially. Both the protection of the rights of the refugees and the generation of a future in harmony with the local population in the urban life inevitably require planned management of social adaptation processes of this migrant population, which are increasingly becoming permanent. In order to manage this process, the exploration of local dynamics and provision of efficient legal/administrative framework for the local governments constitute a significant issue. At the first place, this project will analyze how the processes of adaption and integration are currently formed and developed in the direction of “being an inclusive society” based on a multi-dimensionalmulti-scale and multi-spatial exploratory research. For this aim, the project will develop a conceptual framework specifically designed for our country and construct a “social innovation experiment” that will operationalize this framework. For the processes of adaption and integration processes to be experienced mutually, a “social innovation experiment” based on the “living lab” methodology will be conducted with representative groups of Syrian Migrants and Local Communities to be selected from the working areas in Hatay, Izmir and Istanbul. These experiments will include: 

i) The analysis of interaction between the local community and immigrants by a temporary physical construction in the urban space,

ii) The analysis of interaction between the local community and immigrant in the virtual space via a web-based platform compatible with smart mobile devices,

iii) and the interactive operation of the laboratories constructed in three cities within a network structure.     

One of the significant aims of the “living lab” experiment, which will be conducted as part of the project, is to test what kind of parameters in what kind of spaces (physical or virtual) and to what extent exist or not in the processes of adaptation and integration between the local community and immigrants. With the help of the findings of the experiments and workshops, the project aims to generate an “inclusive city index” including dimensions specific to our country, which will be the first in both literature and practice, and aims to produce a “policy and strategy road map” through the analysis of the spatial and multi-dimensional distribution of this index. Due to the dimensions summarized above, this project will be a first attempt among the researches related to urban refugees in our country, and offers an innovative perspective both conceptually and methodologically.

The total duration of the project is 24 months, comprising three different sub-teams. The project teams are comprised of various disciplines including planning, geography, sociology, economy, information and communication technologies and law.