From our May 2015 issue: Similar Processes, Divergent Outcomes A Comparative Analysis of Urban Redevelopment Projects in Three Turkish Cities

Similar Processes, Divergent Outcomes

A Comparative Analysis of Urban Redevelopment Projects in Three Turkish Cities

  1. Tuna Kuyucu1
  2. Didem Danış2

  1. 1Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey

  2. 2Galatasaray University, Istanbul, Turkey
  1. Tuna Kuyucu, Department of Sociology, Boğaziçi University, PK. 2 Bebek, 34342 Istanbul, Turkey. Email: tuna.kuyucu@boun.edu.tr

Abstract

The recent literature on neoliberal urban redevelopment is marked by a gap between theory and empirical research. While there exists a lively theoretical debate regarding the context-bound and spatially heterogeneous character of redevelopment, there is less effort to explain the heterogeneity through empirical studies. We argue that we can identify the specific contextual and macro-structural factors producing the “variegated” neoliberal redevelopment trajectories with carefully constructed comparative studies. To this end, we compare divergent redevelopment processes in three secondary Turkish cities. Based on in-depth interviews, close documentary analysis, and descriptive statistics, our research highlights the role of coalitions formed among local elites and their ties with central-state agents in determining how neoliberal transformations take shape. Even in a highly centralized country, such as Turkey, it is the varying capacity of local actors to form collaborative networks that explains why divergent redevelopment outcomes emerge across similar cities.

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