Urban Political Ecology on the Road


Urban Political Ecology on the Road: City’s Nature and Nature’s City through Istanbul


Application deadline extended: April 30, 2017

"Recognizing nature in the city, where our language itself has taught us to believe nature no longer exists, challenges our ability to see the world clearly – but to miss the city’s relation to nature and the country is in fact to miss much of what the city is."

William Cronon, Nature’s Metropolis (1991: 19)


Are you a student or a young professional interested in urban political ecology? Koç University offers exactly what you need as a summer program! This program is not only a chance of having a very interesting and intense global academic experience with a hands-on approach to the city, but also of discovering a dynamic, vibrant, attractive city like Istanbul.


Check-in to dorms: July 2, 2017
Orientation on Campus: July 3, 2017
Course dates: July 3 – July 21, 2017
Check-out from dorms: July 22, 2017


Yaşar Adnan Adanalı, Technical University of Berlin 

Sinan Erensü, University of Minnesota


About The Course


Participants will earn 6 ECTS credits and be given a certificate at the end of the course.


Course structure:

3 weeks of theoretical readings on urban political ecology, talks with guest academicians and activists on concrete issues, and field trips along hot routes e.g. Kanal Istanbul and areas of urban transformation such as the surroundings of the Golden Horn.

* Classes will take place Monday through Friday


The summer school is structured around three main methodological axis: 
-    Co-learning via lectures, guest lecturers and student presentations
-    Participatory observations via field trips
-    Reflection via co-production of a publication / video on Istanbul


Academic Program:

The class will be focusing on how the contemporary city depends upon its natural surrounding not only for agricultural output and land conversion, but also how natural resources shape the city’s landscape, establish and reinforce socio-spatial inequalities as well as how urban commons have recently become a battleground over which dominant urban strategies are being contested. As a part of on the road concept the flow of the class will adopt a hands-on approach to the city and benefit from a series of guided fieldworks as well as readings and discussions.
For the 2016 course syllabus, please click here.



-    A background in social sciences is not required. Koç University invites all university students and graduates to apply, regardless of their background.
-    Journalists, lawyers, architects, urban planners, civil society representatives are especially encouraged.
-    The language of instruction is English. Participants must have strong skills in English.
-    Most core readings (TBA) indicated in the bibliography section of the syllabus must be read before the start of the program. Participants will be expected to present a case study relevant to the theme, either from the country of origin or their own field study.
-    In the application form, please explain why you are interested in this program.  Make sure that you elaborate on what you expect to get out of the program and how your previous experiences can contribute to the learning environment of the class.


The program fee:  1250 USD

*Excludes accommodation on campus, meals, costs associated with service learning activities (transportation etc.), other miscellaneous expenses.  

** Students coming from partner institutions of Koç University will get 10% discount on the tuition.


Dorm accommodation in single rooms (21 nights):  525 USD

Accommodation on campus is recommended, but optional.


Please find the link to our virtual campus tour at the bottom of this page or click here.


For more information on the campus, please click here.


Living Expenses:

For living expenses in Istanbul, please click here


Meal Expenses:

Meal menu (4 items) at Koç University Dining Hall: Around 10 - 15 TL


Transportation Expenses:

IETT Bus (KU Campus – Sarıyer): 2.30 TL

Dolmuş (KU Campus-Sarıyer): 2.15 TL

Dolmuş (Sarıyer – Beşiktaş): 2.75 TL

Taxi (Taksim-Campus): 65 TL


International participants will be responsible for the following expenses:

Flights to and from Istanbul, health and travel insurance, meals, and any miscellaneous expenses.
Please note that all participants must have health insurance which covers them overseas.


Scholarship Availability:

If you will apply for a scholarship, please explain in the application form how this scholarship would assist in the fulfillment of your academic and/or professional goals and why you think that you are eligible for financial support.


To apply, undergraduate students are required to submit:

  • Online application form
  • A 400 word statement describing the student's motivation for participation
  • A recent photograph
  • Transcripts describing student’s academic performance
  • TOEFL or IELTS score sheet
  • Non-refundable deposit of 100 USD*


To apply, graduate students and professionals are required to submit:

  • Online application form
  • A 400 word statement describing the student's motivation for participation
  • Non-refundable deposit of 100 USD*


*Paying the deposit will put you on the applicants’ list, but will not secure you a spot in the program. Your participation will only be confirmed once you complete the tuition and dorm payments. The deposit of 100 USD will be deduced from the full amount of tuition that you will pay. If you cancel your participation at any point, this deposit will NOT be refunded to you. This deposit will be refunded only if Koç University cancels the program. 


Students can apply by clicking “APPLY NOW” below. You will be asked to upload a copy of each document required, and the bank receipt as proof of payment of the deposit. If you have any problems with creating an application, please email to


Important Dates

April 30 – Extended Application deadline

May 5 – Accepted applicants will be announced
May 10 – Deadline for applicants to make their final decision
May 12 – Deadline for payment of dorm fee

May 26 - Deadline for payment of program fee


Payment Info

ACCOUNT NO: 89636338
IBAN CODE: TR38 0006 7010 0000 0089 6363 38


IMPORTANT: Please note that banks apply transaction fees. So please make it clear with your bank that the amounts that Koç University will receive will be the exact amounts stated in "Finances" section above.  


Payment Deadlines

May 12 – Deadline for payment of dorm fee

May 26 - Deadline for payment of program fee


Cancellation Policy:

Dorm payment must be made between May 5 - 12. Applicant's placement in the dorms will be secured only after the full payment has been made. Once you make the dorm payment, it will not be reimbursed in case you change your mind. Dorm fee will be reimbursed to you only if Koç University cancels the program. If you will not stay in the dorms, please indicate that in the application form. 


Full refund of payment of the program fee until May 26, 2017. Cancellations after this date will result in half refund of payment. In case of cancelation, the deposit of 100 USD will not be refunded under any circumstances unless Koç University cancels the program. The deposit of 100 USD will be deduced from the full amount of tuition that you will pay. 



Definitely the best part of this program on urban political ecology is getting underground and knowing the urban transformations first hand through the field trips, because we definitely gain an important view about these urban transformations, and even engage in meetings with some of the social leaders that really have been involved in these urban transformations. Knowing some creative forms to face the challenges on these urban transformations is important; for example, the housing transformations and the defense of some important ecosystems in Istanbul. These particular places are promoting urban control and some cultural heritage etc. That is so useful and so insightful and compliment perfectly with not only urban political ecology but also in urban land planning. I want to say thank you to the Oÿc e of International Programs at Koç University for opening this space of these innovative seminar courses. And of course to Ya˛ar and Sinan, our instructors. Their knowledge and background experience is extremely helpful to understand the Istanbul transformations.

Germán Andrés Quimbayo Ruiz, Colombia