Play Marmara

Marmara Municipalities Union

Linking projects developed for cities and subregions on a regional scale.


October 2019 


Istanbul Region, Turkey


5 Sessions with over 200 politicians, policy makers and post graduates

The last ambitious efforts for planning the Istanbul Metropolitan Area date back to 2005. When structuring a large and complex urban system at a metropolitan scale, authorities and experts already recognized the necessity for national and regional scale planning. Recently, Turkey has been developing national spatial planning agendas. Also at a regional scale, issues on economy, transport, ecology, natural disasters, coastal zones, and ecological areas call for an integrated approach. Aside from planning frameworks, regional data and multi-level governance, are the challenges for such ambitions.


Play Marmara, aims at introducing an innovative and working method to address these challenges, demonstrating influential development actors and letting them experience the multi-level governance at a regional scale with real life information-based scenarios.


The Marmara Region is a 67,000sq km area with around 26.5m inhabitants; an agglomeration of urban settlements, metropolitan areas, areas with rural characters, and natural ecosystems around the Sea of Marmara, located in the northwest of Turkey.


Large scale natural areas, coastal zones, daily commuting relations, logistic zones and connections, rich cultural heritage, diverse touristic destinations, organized industrial zones, and a unique geography, characterize the Marmara Region. In the last decades, mega-infrastructure projects and Istanbul’s rapid development has been redefining the core characteristics of the Marmara Region in several interrelated issues and sectors. A significant challenge in reaching integrated regional planning seems to stem from independent and unconnected plans proposed by public and private sectors influencing the Marmara geographic region.


Play Marmara is a multi-actor, table-top regional development game built to function as a capacity building method for municipalities and development agencies in the Marmara region. Game participants include city experts, regulators, investors, politicians and focus groups representing Marmara’s five subregions: (İstanbul-TR10, Tekirdağ-TR21, Balıkesir-TR22, Bursa-TR41, Kocaeli-TR42).


In Play Marmara, five subregions enacted by multiple participants, compete and collaborate for the welfare and happiness of their citizens. As participants manage limited resources and become confronted with dilemmas on economic development plans and their environmental consequences, they form partnerships to agree on priority investments for the region.