The overall aim of the project ‘My City, My Future!’ is to encourage and implement active participation of all citizens and stakeholders in Nilüfer City. This means creating a sustainable mechanism where resources are managed effectively and transparently, with innovative methods to meet public needs. In addition, the administration wants to take into consideration the point of view of the younger generation because they represent the future of society but also today’s partners. In this spirit, workshops for children and idea-sharing meetings were organised with the slogan ‘My Neighbourhood is My Future’. A new principle was developed around the administration of the municipality – ‘New Generation Nilüfer’. This concept refers to structuring a city by looking at the world through the eyes of a child or a young person.
In this way, Nilüfer Municipality aims to create its next strategic plans with participation of its stakeholders and to design a participatory process with the understanding of joint governance. This is the most important innovation of the project.
In this context, during the strategic plan studies activities were envisaged such as neighbourhood workshops to bring people closer to municipal decision makers, and the above-mentioned children’s workshops. The needs and priorities of the city were determined in the light of stakeholder perception surveys by ensuring the participation of all citizens in the process.
As a result of this participatory process, the 2020–2024 Strategic Plan was designed under five main strategic aims: corporate development, urban and rural development, social development, ecological balance and economic development.
Nilüfer municipality has been the only one to date where the decisions were made by discussing its visions, missions, values, strategies and projects directly with citizens. Workshops were conducted in all neighbourhoods during the strategic planning process in Turkey, including those for children of all ages, where they can express their dreams and mark them on the city map. The framework of the strategic plan was shaped further by analysing the feedback received from all stakeholders and collected via concept pools.
After all these studies, the strategic plan was initially presented to a public audience and explained in detail, and later presented to the city council. In this framework, the road map of 15 steps in a one-year period has been implemented with comprehensive participatory studies and a new generation strategic plan covering the years 2020–2024 has been created.
Local, national and international studies were carried out to reflect the perspective of youth in a strategic plan and to include project ideas that will make life easier for young people in the city. As a result of these studies, a national model has been created to ensure the participation of young people in the strategic plans of local governments. With the implementation of this model, a Youth Commission consisting of young, elected members of the City Council and representatives of the Nilüfer Community Council Youth Assembly was formed. Furthermore, a female and a male young representative were included in the higher commission, where the strategic plan was finalised, by the mayor and deputy mayors.