Bursa Speaks Meetings are held with a particular agenda in order to support the development of Bursa and to provide the opportunity for the discussion of all sorts of urban issues in a civilized environment.
The Urban Council meetings that have started in 1995 under the Local Agenda 21 umbrella have continued in the form of Bursa Speaks Meetings following the introduction of the Urban Council Directive in 2009.
Urban Council meetings perform an important function to strengthen local administrations and to develop local democracy.
The frequency of the meetings are at least 2 meetings per year as specified in the Bursa Urban Council working guidelines. The agenda is formulated along proposals received from the participants. The debates and the decisions shed light on prospective work and help create consciousness among the public. Urban Council decisions have no sanctioning power. They are advisory rather than binding for municipalities and other practitioners. The binding power of the Council decisions depends on the assessment of the Municipality Assembly.
Bursa Speaks meetings bring together all stakeholders in the city and allow the creation of a common sense that embraces the entire city. Urban Council participants are also the participants of the Bursa Speaks meetings. The governor or their representative, the mayor or their representative, representatives of a maximum of 10 public institutions or organizations to be identified by the governor, representatives of neighbourhood administrators within the municipal boundaries (min. 20 administrators, max. 30% of all administrators) to be elected among themselves, representatives of political parties that have set up their organizations within the city, a representative from each of the universities within the municipal boundaries, representatives of professional organizations, labour unions and relevant associations and foundations within the municipal boundaries, the chairs of the Assemblies set up by the Urban Council and representatives of the working groups are among the participants of the Urban Council. Bursa Speaks meetings are also publicly announced and are open to the participation of all members of the public.
Setting out from the notion that the formation of local administration organs based on elections does not suffice to render them democratic in nature on its own, the practice makes a great contribution to the formulation of a system of intensive popular participation in order to make local democracy functional and local administrations effective in the real sense.
Its successes: It allows the popularization of democratic participation at the local level by allowing all relevant groups to discuss problems on the urban agenda and the implementation of a participatory governance model. The Urban Council, to the extent that it manages to bring together public institutions, the local administration and the Non-governmental Organizations in a set of hierarchically horizontal relations, attains an indirect sanctioning power. The fact that the representatives of the primary decision-making and implementing organizations at the local level featuring within this structure de facto participate in the making of the advisory decisions by the Council paves the way for their actual materialization.
Its failures: The failure to achieve concrete outcomes out of participation often sparks disenchantment and disinterest in participation and prompts many individuals who participate in the process with great optimism and dedication at the outset to lose their spirit, turn away or retreat. Urban Council members, when the sentiment that the process is all “much ado about nothing,” demand that they attain sanctioning power and the decisions they take are binding for the Municipal Assembly. However, that turns out to be impossible most of the time.
Enes Battal KESKIN (Bursa Urban Council Secretary General)
Gather individual pre-existing opinions
Generate new ideas (innovation)
Reach consensus and overcome conflict
Number of participants
Self selected participants attending as individuals (open access process)
Level of awareness and interest
participants need information and cannot articulate their interests
participants know about some aspects/can roughly articulate some interest
participants are well informed and can articulate their interests
Culture and arts
Environment and climate change
Housing and Planning
Limit search to...
... face to face processes
Level of involvement