- The New Address of Social Polarization in Ýstanbul: Gated Communities    click here to open paper content931 kb
by    Çýnar, Candan & Çizmeci, Füsun & Köksal, Almula | candancinar@hotmail.com   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
The social polarization in the metropolis, Istanbul, reflects the disintegration of social layers in the physical space.
Everyday life in a metropolis is a tension between the necessities of contemporary, “modern” life and the continuities of “traditional” habits. The simultaneous existence of the anonymous individual –the kernel of a modern society- and the communal life of the traditional is the reason of this tension. This tension and the co-existence of multiple lifestyles which is sometimes seen as the multicultural society of a city in fact describes the fragmented nature of (a) metropolis and reflects in the social polarization in everyday life.

Multiculturalism, which describes the fragmented nature of Istanbul, does not necessarily mean the close interaction of different cultures; it is rather a social polarization. This social polarization in metropolis reflects as the disintegration of social layers in the physical space.

The argument of this paper is that the fragmented nature of Istanbul is disintegrated and dispersed in physical space. Especially, we focus on the housing process since 1990’s. We argue that housing process facilitates the polarization of the residents of Istanbul.

In this paper, we examine large-scale housing settlements in central Istanbul, such as Levent, Besiktas, and Etiler, and Cekmekoy, Umraniye, Beylikduzu (etc.) at the periphery of the city. Such settlements are not only housing settlements but also public spaces (social, sports, and, education facilities, recreational areas etc.) for the residents of such settlements. Therefore, this study argues that since the 90’s social polarization is not limited to private space it is also comprised of public space. For this reason, such settlements are called “gated communities”. Such gated communities create a homogenous lifestyle and draws a borderline between the city’s heterogeneity and themselves. Hence, the residents of gated communities consolidate their own public sphere remote from the rest of the city, which they call ‘the others’. We conclude that even though the designers, the producers, the location, and the marketing strategies that create the housing settlements of different social strata with different lifestyles produce similar housing plans and environments.
social polarization, disintegration
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