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TitlePlanning, Development and Community: Transformation of the Gecekondu Settlements in Turkey
LanguageEnglish
File Size7.9 MB
Total Pages318
Document Text Contents
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Abstract

This thesis aims to investigate changes in gecekondu (slum house) communities

through exploring the lives of three generations of rural migrants in Turkey. It suggests

that the dynamic relation between their strategies and development policies in Turkey

has had a large impact on the urban landscape, urban reforms, welfare policies and

urban social movements. I followed qualitative research methodology, and was

extensively influenced by feminist theory. Participant observation, in-depth interviews

and focus group methods were used flexibly to reflect the richness of gecekondu lives.

The data includes 83 interviews, one focus group and my observations in Ege

neighbourhood in Ankara. First-generation rural migrants largely relied on kin and

family networks and established gecekondu communities which provided them with

shelter against the insecurities of urban life and their exclusion from the mainstream.

The mutual trust within gecekondu communities was a result of their solidarity and

collective struggle to obtain title deeds and infrastructure services. The liberalization of

the Turkish economy immediately after the coup d’état in 1980 brought in Gecekondu

Amnesties which legalized the gecekondus built before 1985 and fragmented labour

market, resulting in a fragmentation among them in terms of gecekondu ownership,

types of jobs and the scope of their resources. Since their interests were no longer the

same in the face of development policies, their solidarity decreased and collective

strategies were replaced by individual tactics. The dissolving of the sense of community

was most visible in the area of urban transformation projects, which were based on legal

ownership of houses and social assistance, and created new tensions in the 2000s. The

younger generation of gecekondu dwellers integrated into city life predominantly

through education and employment opportunities in the city. They felt far more a part of

the urban economy and considered community ties to be a constraint upon their

integration. This study shows that this broke gecekondu people’s ties, which were the

basis of their existence.

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