Cities have always been associated with human emancipation. In Europe in the Middle Ages, it was believed that city air brings freedom. Modern cities, too, are defined as areas of high freedom potential for people leaving behind extended family ties and hierarchical agricultural relationships. However, attractive as the potential for human freedom may be, cities are also spheres where economic inequalities, income disparities, cultural differences and ghettoization trends become most visible.
Turkey is a country that is going through rapid urbanization. The percentage of the urban population rose from 25% in the 1950s to 75% today. We are now living in an urbanized Turkey with all its risks and potential. Anatolian provinces prove to be the most dynamic ones in terms of rapid urbanization. Processes of change and transformation since the 1980s gave rise to the emergence of new city centers in Anatolia. Cities like Kayseri, Konya, Gaziantep, Eskişehir, Denizli, Çorum and others have become new centers of economic and political power over the last three decades.
It is possible to argue that these new city centers pose alternatives to those cities that have been prominent since the early years of the Republic such as Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. These cities draw attention not only by their recent entrepreneurial ventures, but also their wealth of initiatives in education and artistic activities. What is novel about the emergence and rise of these cities? What are the drivers of entrepreneurship observed in these cities? How compatible are these new urban areas with the fundamental freedoms of citizens? Is the atmosphere (social and political environment) in these cities conducive to liberation – the function that has historically been attributed to cities? How can new urban spaces contribute to development, democratization and peace in Turkey?
This topic was chosen for this year's Sakıp Sabancı International Awards in line with the interdisciplinary nature of Sabancı University. Submissions that make general and specic contributions to this subject from a wide and interdisciplinary academic perspective are welcome.
In 2005, Sabancı University decided to announce and administer an international award in order to encourage research on all aspects of Turkish culture, society and politics, and to uphold distinguished examples of fresh research with a view to engaging intellectual attention on Turkey’s role in the contemporary world. The “Sakıp Sabancı International Research Award” has been endowed in honor of the late Sakıp Sabancı, Honorary Chairman of Sabancı University’s Board of Trustees, and covers fields such as Turkish and Islamic Art and the History, Economy and Sociology of Turkey.
The Sakıp Sabancı International Research Award entails a Jury Prize for 25,000 USD. The Jury Prize will be awarded to an individual who has made distinguished contributions in this theme. An independent and international jury will select this Awardee. A series of awards will also be given to researchers under 45 years of age. This category includes 10.000 USD for each of three award-winning essays selected by the same jury panel from among submissions made for the competition.
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