Spotlight on Istanbul: Building and Rebuilding the Periphery

group pictureThe Major Collaborative Research Initiative on Global Suburbanisms: Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st Century held an international workshop on Building and Re-Building the Urban Periphery in Istanbul, Turkey, December 10-12, 2015.

The event was co-organized by Roger Keil and Murat Üçoğlu at York University with Kazim Murat Guney at Columbia University, Sylvia Tiryaki and Mensur Akgün at the Istanbul Kültür University, and Julia Strutz and Erbatur C̨avuşoğlu at Mimar Sinan University as well as Jean-François Pérouse (IFEA).

The workshop was designed to address the political economies of large scale housing projects in the peripheries of the world’s cities. It looked at various ways in which peripheral urban housing projects are being built and revitalized.

The location of Istanbul was deliberately chosen. The significance of the city’s development from providing housing through gecekondu-style squatting and regularization to massive state-led building of mostly peri-urban housing estates (through organizations such as TOKI) is widely recog
nized as exemplary and subject to much inter-referencing in global debates on housing in post-suburbia.

Istanbul is also a geographical bridge between West Asia, North Africa and Europe, both historically and currently. We therefore would consider Istanbul to be at several intersections of theory, history and geography.

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The workshop brought together leading Turkish and global researchers, activists, and members of the MCRI research team to discuss how inter-referenced forms of urbanism are used to a) build peripheral large scale housing estates and b) manage those estates over time, in times of revitalization, shrinkage, population change, environmental challenges and economic crisis.

The event opened with a tour of Istanbul’s periphery and a keynote by Mustafa Dikeç (Ecole d’Urbanisme de Paris) on The Political Challenge of the Urban Periphery. This was followed by two days of presentations by international and local experts.

The event was supported financially by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) through the MCRI Global Suburbanisms, by the York Research Chair in Global Suburban Studies and by local host institutions Istanbul Kültür University and Mimar Sinan University.

Click here for a copy of the workshop program.