Environmental justice frameworks predominantly focus on exploration of socio-environmental inequalities faced by racial, ethnic, religious, cultural and low-income groups. This article aims to expand this mainstream focus of the environmental justice concept on these groups by conceptualising urban/rural division as a group difference, based on which rural communities face with socio-environmental burdens of environmental policies in relation to their urban counterparts. It is based on the analysis of Turkey’s small-scale hydroelectricity power plant (HPP) development policies, referring to the planning and constructions of approximately 1500 hydropower plants across the country, along with country’s modernist agenda, i.e. achievement of economic development, social progress and urban transformation of Turkey. These power plants are also strongly associated with numerous socio-economic, environmental and cultural impacts on local rural communities and local environments with dozens of local opposition movements, while favouring needs, interests and lifestyles of urban communities. This point deserves a systematic conceptualisation within the environmental justice frameworks as it helps to further explain deep causes of socio-environmental inequalities particularly in developing country contexts. Thus, this article is built on such a conceptualisation arguing the necessity to integrate urban/rural division as a separate group difference to environmental justice frameworks by examining modernisation and urbanisation nexus in Turkey’s small-scale HPP development process.
- Environmental justice
- hydropower development