VOL: 9  NO: 1  86-103  2012-1


The right to inhabit in the city: Yeni Sahra squatter settlement in Istanbul





Aytanga DENER

Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul, TURKEY


Received: March 2012          Final Acceptance: May 2012




The informal housing issue was included into the agenda of Turkey in the 1950s. The outskirts of major cities are still crowded with informal and low quality houses. Today, Istanbul is under the influence of global flows and the big scaled urban transformation projects are being planned to rearrange the degraded areas. In this context, the squatters are displaced whereas the land profit is transferred to the big capitalists. However, social movements and resistance arise against these projects and the housing issue of poor people is discussed in various forums for the sake of developing their socioeconomic and cultural status in the cities.


This paper aims to discuss the concepts, “the right to the city” and “the right to inhabit” within the context of the neoliberal regimes and the consequential economic, socio-cultural, ideological and spatial transformation occurred both in the world cities and Istanbul. The first part of the paper is shared for the discussions on the issues of neoliberalism, social exclusion and the concepts, “the rights to the city”, “the right to inhabit”. The successive phases of gecekondu phenomenon are examined in order to form the basis for the evaluations of the current status of squatters and their houses in the city. In the second part, the physical and social structure of Yeni Sahra squatter settlement in Anatolian part of Istanbul is discussed in relation to the research mainly on the characteristics of inhabitants and houses. The incremental development of the squatter houses versus urban transformation projects is considered by thinking the integration of the inhabitants into the city life.


Keywords: The right to inhabit city, neoliberalism, low-income people, Yeni Sahra squatter settlement, Istanbul


Download Full Text (PDF)