Korhan Gumus

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2004
Human Settlements Association


This profile was prepared when Korhan Gumus was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
The New Idea
Municipal authorities and professional architects currently have a monopoly of power over what buildings are constructed, demolished, or restored in Turkish cities. Korhan Gumus brings the people who live and work in these cities into the urban planning process, positioning them to challenge corruption and lay the foundation for healthy neighborhoods. In this process, he first convenes residents, experts and representatives of local government in planning committees called city watch groups. He then instructs these groups in participatory models of urban planning, teaching them strategies for mapping and risk management, and encouraging them to preserve green spaces and historical sites.
Through Korhan’s programs, neighbors meet each other and develop a shared sense of stewardship over the spaces they inhabit. Professionals and municipal authorities learn to value input from citizens and incorporate into all stages of their work. Best of all, with each success the city watch groups build the reputation and refined strategies that enable Korhan to spread his methods with networks of citizen sector organizations throughout Turkey.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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