This week I visited my hometown, Ödemiş. I have also visited old villages around the city. Bozdağ and Birgi were the villages where my family had a small farm and a life. Here are some photos from our garden.

Our village is on the hillside of Bozdağlar, one of the highest mountains in the east of Turkey. Most of the population are farmers, and because of that, the most significant industry here is agriculture. In addition, one or two small groceries, barber shops, bakeries, and cafes exist. All these shops are in the same place we call the local bazaar. Because of the village's altitude, winter is snowy and cold, but summer times are just cold to stay in. Clean air and pine forests are other attraction reasons for local tourists around İzmir.

As you can see in the photos above, Bozdağ is a simple Anatolian village:
"Simple, natural, and authentic."

On the first day of our trip, I visited the local bazaar to buy some needs. I was shocked when I saw this construction process: "City-typed sidewalks, car parking areas, and color-painted buildings like kitsch. I felt like I was in a shopping mall, an organic village concept. I asked myself: "Why does someone kill a village life like that? "

I tried to find rational reasons for this project. I thought that these people also needed accessible sidewalks, infrastructure, and more modern life. I convinced myself that this is not about values or aesthetics; it is about serving a better life for citizens. I welcomed the idea and felt OK about this.

When I got home, I googled the news about Bozdağ and government-related construction projects and learned that this project aims to increase the number of visitors for tourism. So what? Was the project related to tourists? What about the experience? Where is the simple, natural, and authentic village story? Are you kidding?  

Here are some photos from the project.

Is this a village or a city square? Is this an open-air shopping mall imitating a village?

This project's decision approach is defective. The local administrations always have only one solution to the city's problems: "Construction." This is an engineering mindset. The project's estimated cost is TL 5.1 Million. This money will be spent on killing tourism in the village. I'm sure I can create a cheaper marketing solution than a construction project under spending TL 5.1 Million. I can hack engineering solutions with marketing!

First, we must ask ourselves, why do tourists visit Bozdağ?
What is the value proposition of Bozdağ?

  • An excellent place for leisure?
  • Refreshing air and forest?
  • Delicious organic food?
  • Authentic village life?
  • Romantic or nostalgic village experience?
  • Wintersports? (Bozdağ has a ski center and ski slope)
  • Distance to big cities? (nearest ski center for İzmir and other cities around)

What is the barrier to tourist visits?

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