Law, Space and Seismic Risk Management

Ince Keller, I., & Ruegg, J.

Law, Space and Seismic Risk Management: Understanding Loopholes in the Enacting Process of a New Law in İzmir


Power in the loopholes: Sensing and shaping the city through law
Annual Conference of the International Sociological Association Research Committee 21 on Urban and Regional Development ‘Shaping & Sensing the City: Power, People, Place’
Antwerp Urban Studies Institute
Antwerp, Belgium

Urban areas face multiple risks due to the rapid and unplanned expansion of cities. To identify, assess, and manage risks, governments implement laws, regulations or plans. These legal actions have an immense impact on the social, cultural, and political structure of cities. Within this process, different actors such as the central government, the community, and various chambers find loopholes within the legal settings to realise their own aims. In order to investigate the relation between law, space and people in terms of risk management, this study focuses on a new law for managing seismic risks in Turkey, “Law No. 6306 on transformation of areas under disaster risk”. Specifically, the study investigates the constitution of multiple loopholes in the enacting process of the law in the city of İzmir. The law, which empowers the central government with a capacity to appropriate all property, prepare plans and build projects for transforming risky areas, creates legal loopholes which are exploited by different actors in the conflict-ridden urban transformation process in İzmir. From a theoretical perspective, these loopholes are identified via actor network theory and its proposal to “follow the actors”. This approach contributes in tracking the heterogeneous network of relations among human and non-human actors during the implementation process of this law. The data is presented using the techniques of document analysis, poster analysis, observation and key informant interviews in the case study. Hence, this study examines the complex web of legal, social and environmental relationships within the urban transformation process in İzmir.