comments 2

Under the Rubble of Istanbul’s Urban Regeneration

This week’s post is a link. I am proud to contribute to InPerspective magazine’s first issue with an article on Istanbul’s urban regeneration and its impact on this ever changing mega-city.

InPerspective is a non-profit project made up of a network of journalists, translators and readers dedicated to reporting stories that explore different subjects and perspectives from all over the world. In addition to contributing articles to this wonderful project, I will be helping them as regional editor.

As a taste, here are first few paragraphs of my first article on InPerspective:



I grew up in Kaya Palas, a 14-story building on Iğrıp Street in the Asian side of Istanbul and as I write these words it has no roof. In its stead are machines tearing apart the building from top to bottom, floor by floor. By the time anybody reads this article, the building that was my childhood’s palace will have ceased to exist.

Our apartment overlooked Fenerbahçe Orduevi, perhaps the most fancy military officer’s club in Istanbul boasting a view of the Princess Islands and its own mini-zoo. Kaya Palas was the center of my universe for many years. It was there that I cultivated my earliest memories, learned to read, and had violent fights with my sister. It was in the parking lot of that building where I learned to rollerblade, and in its lobby where I waited in the dark hours of the morning for the school bus to pick me up and take me from the Asian to the European side of Istanbul. It was in that apartment that my mother informed me of her divorce from my father and it was inside Kaya Palas where I sat with the English teacher she hired to prepare us for our big move to the USA. That blond lady taught me the word for eraser as “rubber.”

Citywide renewal project

The demolishment of Kaya Palas is not unique — half of the buildings in the neighborhood are either at some stage of being torn down or rebuilt. They call it Kentsel Dönüşüm — “Urban Regeneration.” Under the pretext of an impending major earthquake that will inevitably hit this gigantic metropolis of 15 million inhabitants, the government initiated this citywide renewal project to demolish buildings tagged “çürük,” literally meaning “rotten.”


To continue reading, visit