Counter Urbanisation as Refuge During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Case Study from Turkey

  • Levent Memiş Giresun University, Turkey
  • Sönmez Düzgün Giresun University, Turkey
  • Semih Köseoglu Giresun University, Turkey
Keywords: counter-urbanisation, urban tension, city-countryside interaction, COVID-19, Turkey


Migration is one of the most fundamental features of human history. Migration still plays an important role today and can occur between countries and settlements for different reasons. Migration activities bring various problems and needs regarding the everyday components of life. In this context, one of the types of migration is counter-urbanisation. Counter-urbanisation refers to moving from the city to the countryside or small settlements with predominantly rural characteristics. Urban areas maintain their attractiveness for individuals and organisations. However, living conditions and the city's structure bring ruralisation to the agenda. This study focuses on counter-urbanisation, a phenomenon that has been reshaped with the COVID-19 pandemic. It examines the impact of this counter-urbanisation on transforming the countryside's communal needs and physical structure. In this context, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 84 people in 17 villages of three districts in Giresun province located in the Black Sea Region of Turkey, and the observation method was utilised. According to the research findings, retirees carry out counter-urbanisation. However, the tendencies of these people covering the pandemic bring on the concept of counter-urbanisation as a refuge. Counter-urbanisation renders the existing organisational structures inadequate regarding communal services and brings new needs to the agenda. On the other hand, efforts to improve existing housing and create new housing bring new situations to the agenda for villages. With policies that will overcome the limitations of these new situations, it will be possible to support the elderly policies carried out by the country and contribute to sustainable development goals by supporting the production in rural areas. This potential calls for regulations and holistic policies that consider life and production functions in rural areas.