The strange case of earthquake risk mitigation in Istanbul

Araştırma sonucu: ???type-name???Makalebilirkişi

4 Atıf (Scopus)


As an aspiring global city, Istanbul is at the crossroads of capital, political struggle, and socioeconomic transformation. Unfortunately, Istanbul is also at the crossroads of major active fault lines. This paper analyzes earthquake risk mitigation planning for the megacity since the last big seismic catastrophe of the Marmara Earthquakes in 1999 that hit the region, including Istanbul. We use the concept of riskscape to explore the political and technocratic construction of seismic risk and how this implies different experiences of risk to investment portfolios, the state, and the ordinary people living in the city. Our empirical analyses focus on the ‘Istanbul Seismic Risk Mitigation and Emergency Preparedness Project’ (ISMEP), launched as a World Bank project in 2005 and still ongoing as of 2020. We argue that the ISMEP project epitomizes the ‘strange case’ of earthquake risk mitigation in Istanbul due to its organizational complexity, financial expansion over its lifetime, and progression as a megaproject sponsored by international development funding despite its contraction in institutional targets. Our findings suggest that this centralized and non-transparent earthquake risk mitigation approach in Istanbul creates a fragmented riskscape for the megacity. The earthquake risk continues to threaten millions of inhabitants’ lives and livelihoods while making room for speculative real estate development.

Orijinal dilİngilizce
Sayfa (başlangıç-bitiş)67-87
Sayfa sayısı21
Basın numarası1-2
Yayın durumuYayınlandı - 2021

Bibliyografik not

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


The project started as an infrastructure and retrofitting project financed by a $400 million loan from the World Bank and a $100 million commitment from the Government of Turkey. ISMEP’s current budget has reached 2.028 billion Euros as of May 2019, and with the most recent additional funding in December 2019, the current budget is 2.328 billion Euros, which corresponds to almost a six-fold increase (see IPCU ; AIIB ). The official project documents available on the project website highlight that ISMEP’s budget is approximately equal to the Rio 2016 Olympics budget, a comparison which indicates the megaproject mentality behind Istanbul’s risk mitigation planning (IPCU , 2). This tremendous increase in ISMEP’s budget was made possible with loans from several international financial institutions, including the European Investment Bank, Council of Europe Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, German KfW Development Bank, and with the most recent addition of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in December 2019 (AIIB ). ISMEP’s closing date, which was originally set as 2009, was pushed forward several times. The World Bank’s involvement with the ISMEP project officially ended in December 2015, meaning that ISMEP is a ‘closed project’ for the World Bank after a third and final extension, and with five years of extension in total (Ayhan ). Although the World Bank’s involvement with the project ended after 10 years, the project is still ongoing under the Governorship of Istanbul’s project coordination unit with a recently updated closing date of 2021 (IPCU ). In the most recent loan agreement with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to ‘strengthen about 100 public buildings for earthquake resistance’ (AIIB , 2), the end date for the project implementation is stated as June 2025, although ISMEP sources have not officially updated the closing date as of November 2020.

FinansörlerFinansör numarası
Government of Turkey
World Bank Group

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