Fikirtepe district has become the target of urban transformation, or rather gentrification, with its proximity to the city center and the attraction to be created by the magnificent view of Istanbul that will be formed by vertical architecture.
While aging building stocks posed a threat in the earthquake, they created new rent areas. The poor people of the districts have been caught unprotected in a process that has no end in the name of urban transformation.
People who lacked the financial power to renew their buildings on their own, embarked on a journey to hope with the dazzling marketing tactics of parcel and parcel contractor companies. The residents of the neighborhood, who could not find the opportunity to organize, realized that there was no turning back after the parcels were taken around them and the demolition started.
The system, which did not even ask the opinion of the tenants, was already forcing them to move away from the city, perhaps to their hometowns.
In this process of extinction, the neighborhood took my attention. I knew that there were photographic projects related to urban transformation before. As soon as I stepped into the neighborhood, I realized that this process would be long. This became the motivation for my photo series about the neighborhood that also reminds me of my childhood. This was not a transformation but a re-creation process, and the neighborhood, especially the poor tenants, were extremely worried. The hosts were experiencing complicated emotions that mixed hope and anxiety.
The last neighborhood in Fikirtepe was disappearing in the ruins under the name of urban transformation. It was now an unearned income market. The main aim was gentrification, that is, the expulsion of the poor workers and laboring class staying in the city centers out of the system in exchange for an apartment.
When the contractors could not fund the system, the state rushed to aid, which was not enough. It was as if the neighborhood was avenging its former identity, desperately resisting the looting.
Fikirtepe continues to be crushed and crumbled under the vertical architecture that pierces the sky, among the parcels of dilapidated houses.
The last neighborhood was becoming more and more illusory, like my childhood, never to return.
All images and text 2013 © Ufuk Akarı
By Ufuk Akarı
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