What is the way out for cities and regions with mountainous and challenging geography, and in particular the small Anatolian cities that have no direct contact to the sea? What are the possible ways to develop locally and the potential salvation or escape out of poverty prescriptions? In what areas can they gain competitive advantage and continue to survive? As a whole, the book and different chapters of the book aim to offer simple, understandable suggestions to all of these questions and more.
We live in a new era and a different period in which even competition between countries is transformed into a city-to-city competition. Indeed, even in the past and throughout the history, cities have always been critical to the development process of countries. Looking forward, a new chapter of continuously increasing competition between cities, in every sense, is about to commence. In this new period, as the qualification of the workforce becomes important, flexible working conditions a likely to become a major issue and talent will be more difficult gain. Hence, the workforce will gain more flexibility to move, and hubs of production and companies will be an even more critical issue. Competition between cities will increase in order to get more shares from this development course. The quality of life, the opportunities they offer, technology and eco-friendly, smart cities will start to come to the forefront.
Building new and modern cities that add new values to human life, more livable cities and those demonstrating stronger economic performance; cities providing better health, education, culture and even those with a well-established transportation infrastructure are becoming increasingly important and more popular. Repositioning of urban awareness requires new perspectives to increase the attractiveness of cities at regional, national and even the international arena.
An important point here is that the economic development and transformation process, in the example of modern economies, always starts locally. As small towns, cities and regions develop step by step and become new welfare basins, so does the country, the neighboring geographies, and regions where these settlements are located. With this perspective in mind, it is important that all these principles are accepted by each and every stakeholder here, as a common principle. The success of a policy in this new era depends in its totality upon the general principle of beginning the development process locally, where the process is shared with all local stakeholders, institutions, NGOs and the business world together.
The local opportunities and local development book that aims to share new ideas and different experiences in this direction and with the wider masses, by examining the way out for the small Anatolian cities like Bingöl in the development process, is the product of a significant effort to contribute to the local and regional knowledge accumulation within this context. We believe that this book is unique in its field, especially in the context of development of the small Anatolian cities. The book provides an extensive framework (of developing locally using local opportunities) with various examples of practical applications, different experiences and suggestions from many experts, academics and entrepreneurs specialized in local development. Possible readership of the book will be local and national institutions, private sector, NGOs and the academia interested in the development issues.
This book is based on development of the local regions and the story of small Anatolian cities, and it distinguishes itself from other similar publications in many ways. It has a comprehensive stance that brings together new ideas and proposals for solutions from different areas of economic development, as well as focusing on local opportunities and the new ways out that these cities offer. This book is intended to be an important reference-book that emerges from the academic knowledge and experiences of many academics from various related disciplines, fields; and most importantly from various Anatolian cities, specializing in the experiences of these small Anatolian cities, their needs, and potential new suggestions.
The book gives a new insight into the regional development and, in a broader sense, the practicalities of development. In this context, one of the main ideas of the book is that; contrary to the huge sectors like heavy industry and defense industry in modern developed big industrial cities, small Anatolian cities such as Bingöl could gain significant competitive advantage by focusing on different high-value-added sectors such as labor-based industries, agriculture, and farming; as well as alternative sectors such as beekeeping and tourism.
The emergence of this book is also an important contribution to and the result of a serious social need. The fact that, especially in the developed countries, the idea of development cannot be considered totally independent from local development, and in parallel with the development and transformation of the Turkish economy in recent years, we believe that more attention should be given to the idea of local development. For this purpose, we hope to once again draw attention to this relatively new idea of local development with this book. Therefore, this book is a new mean to rethink the idea of local development and create more interest towards this rising trend.
The local opportunities and local development book, as the last of a series of new academic activities (many of them were first in the city and university, in their field) related to development concerns in Bingöl (one of these self-organized small cities in the Eastern Anatolia) that are carried out for the past two years (since 2016), is a product of the efforts to create a new line of value-added to the economy of the city and the country. This process of education, development, social and human capital is being carried out through different academic activities (such as the EkoFin weekly talk series, new conferences, the faculty’s first international academic journal, and the TÜBİTAK Supported Local Development Workshop etc.) will be moved to the next stage by an international book on local development, in this last loop.
In our book, on one hand, the opportunities offered by the small Anatolian cities are being analyzed; and on the other hand, new proposals for development initiatives and programs are shared. For this purpose, while, on one hand, SME’s innovation strategies and marketing problems are analyzed; on the other hand, the role that human and social capital could play in the development process is also being investigated. Alternatives such as Islamic economics and finance are examined thoroughly. Alternative sectors such as tourism and leading sectors of development are also discussed in details. Various perspectives on the effects of migration on development, government incentives, global examples such as China, local and specific examples such as EkoFin are also examined comparatively.
The Local Development and Local Opportunities book will be one of the first of its kind, in particular in the context of the development of the small Anatolian cities. Potential readers of this book are local and national authorities and institutions, NGOs, the private sector and the academia. We are planning to publish a Turkish (for the benefit of the small Anatolian cities, its people and the institutions there) and another English version (to have a better academic book) of this book project. The book will have both Turkish and English versions, so that it will be useful on a local basis, and will also reach all relevant institutions and organizations, in an effort to better serve the purpose.