1st Edition

Lost Informal Housing in Istanbul Globalization at the Expense of Urban Culture

By F. Yurdanur Dulgeroglu-Yuksel Copyright 2023
    180 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    180 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The dynamics of globalization brought a radical change in megacities and tensions between the stakeholders and dwellers against top-down urban renewal policies. This unique book provides a worldview of multi-stakeholders in the urban housing market. With a longitudinal research approach, it paves the way for interdisciplinary researchers to critically assess the urban renewal projects and update such studies. The urban renewal processes are implemented without participation, and the book highlights field-based information for policymakers. The reader will find, with the information provided from the field, why participation is necessary for a sustainable urban development, why there are different types of urbanizations, and how it works under different conditions. Better understanding of the challenges of urban renewal processes in the world cities is intended with the focus on the changing informal settlements.

    Istanbul is a megacity, housing more than half of its dwellers in informal settlements. After many decades of self-upgrading and silently communicating with the local authorities, the informal sector had become adapted and maintained its living spaces. Unexpectedly, the end of the first decade of the 21st century marked a radical urban land valuation and international investments. Top-down interventions started with naming Istanbul the 2010 European Capital of Culture. Then came the Law of Urban Transformation, which meant the fast decline of squatter housing and the speedy loss of its cultural value of the mahalle spirit, place identity. The book will raise curiosity on why the time has come to change the perspectives about the informal urban sector.


    List of Abbreviations


    Aims and objectives

    Approach and methodology

    Organization of the book

    Typology and change


    Starting point for the informal


    Related concepts

    Settlement pattern of gecekondus

    Mahalle concept and culture

    Mahalle is a socio-spatial unit

    Fit of culture and dwelling in informal settlements

    Local leaders

    Globalism creates highly differentiated social groups

    Urban development dynamics and the layered city

    Summary: incremental growth as a way of informal urbanization


    Interpretations for Urban transformation based on changing views about the informal settlers

    State-led and Demand-led Approaches

    Greed and need: urban Space Consumption

    The changing role of the informal networks

    Disaster mitigation Law or Tabula Rasa


    Resistance to urban renewal - a strong community: Sariyer

    Women’s efforts to challenge disaster threats -positively participating: Kağıthane

    Submission to Top-down urban renewal- first in emergency project and UT: Zeytinburnu

    Total Displacement seemingly squatter prevention: Ayazma

    Gentrification of a central Roma mahalle notoriously gentrified: Sulukule

    Large-scale demolition, central lum eradicated: Tarlabaşı

    From house thresholds to courts: Fikirtepe

    Self-control with strong tensions: Maltepe

    Summary: Difficulties with policies, life quality, and demolition



    Global city, mega-projects, contrasting urban architecture

    Major urban actors in the formal housing market

    Types of affordable housing programs for the urban poor

    Social housing as a panacea

    Social housing characteristics

    A brief comparison of informal-gecekondu and formal-social house

    Evaluation of Social housing

    Mass-housing or one type fits all

    Mass-housing authority (MHA) / TOKI as the major agent of urban change

    Interest in global projects vs affordable housing projects

    Social housing via urban transformation


    Mini-new global cosmopolitan settlement: Sancaktep

    Pseudo-urban renewal in an old settlement: Yeldeğirmeni

    Examplary social housing, or highrises for the high end of globalism: Tozkoparan

    Summary: loss of informal housing, urban memory, policy implication


    Is social housing a panacea?

    Is urban land consumption and expansion a panacea?

    Is vertical development and grand scale housing a panacea?

    Can the conflicting interests be reconciled in the housing market?

    Summary: gap between policy and practice





    F. Yurdanur Dülgeroğlu-Yüksel currently teaches several online courses at Waqkf University on culture, space, and urban renewal and has been serving on the editorial board of The International Journal of the Open House for the last three decades. She continues to lead workshops on housing in developing countries for ENHR (European Network for Housing Research). She was the director of HREC (Housing Research and Education Center) at Istanbul Technical Institute (ITU) for six years, and was the head of the Department of Architecture, of the Faculty of Architecture for two years until retirement.

    Dülgeroğlu-Yüksel conducted two major research studies on housing quality and urban transformation in Istanbul, funded by TUBITAK (MHA) and ITU, respectively, and served as a consultant in a team of ITU academicians to Kagıthane Sub-Municipality for the Disaster Awareness Project.

    She also served as a jury member for TOKİ and The Ministry of Urbanization and Environment; as well as did research on Quality Mass Housing sponsored by the Mass Housing Authority on a widespread questionnaire. She has been part of an international project on two nation’s affordable housing: Turkey and Scotland (Glasgow specifically) through the Urban Mobility Fund, in the direction of UN Habitat III Conference on New Urban Agenda in 2016, culminating in two international conferences in Sweden and Cuba.

    Dülgeroğlu-Yüksel also organized several national and international conferences on ISVS (International Seminar on Vernacular Settlements) with Asian scholars and collaborated with OIKONET.

    Her research interests include urban housing and change, social housing, and mass housing; and interdisciplinary approaches to contemporary global housing issues in poverty-stricken urban areas.