Unlocking Planning Through Everyday Life Narratives: The Case of Istanbul, Esenler Havaalanı Neighbourhood

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Submission Summary
As the global urban agenda is increasingly being restructured by major emphasis on the reproduction of urban space as an opportunity space both in the developed but more in the developing world, the implications on the society becomes a major subject in the current urban discourse. The current urban agenda of Istanbul implies constant pressure to renewal in every square metre of the urban spatiality including inner-city slums, peripheral migrant neighbourhoods and historic neighbourhoods. The casualties in the process of transformation of cities do not solely reflect the change of ownership patterns, the disappearance of security, the destruction of urban fabric; the same process also draws on the lost of communities, their heritage and memories. The mechanized system created by the standardization on transformation approach erases the 'simple' everyday life routines, and new urban areas are created where the individual cannot exist. On the other hand side, the way the built environment is planned or transformed plays a decisive role for the citizens not only in participating everyday life practices, but also in participating the everyday making of an inclusive, democratised society. The city that shapes the everyday life of the individual is also the place where individual existence struggles, encounters, and consciousness of being a society. Listening the stories of people and learning from their everyday life narratives is therefore essential for strengthening the bond between the city and society in unlocking planning. It is therefore the particular goal of this research to call for a critical perspective based on empirical insight into the everyday life narratives of communities within transforming cities. Built on a story of one family in Istanbul’s Esenler Havaalani Neighbourhood, the research attempts to explore the conflicts of current urban renewal policy and to showcase the intangible dynamics of the renewal initiatives in between migration, mobility and displacement from the perspective of the community. The questions that structured the research are: How the relationship between urban spatiality, society and everyday life can be read within the context of neoliberal urban agenda? What is the impact of renewal-based urbanisation and urbanity on the discovery of everyday life practices? And how can the knowledge on everyday life narratives can foster transformative change in the way we manage our cities? Ethnographic approaches, particularly narrative or life histories that are fed from everyday life stories and focusing on the foundations of traditional social behaviours are used as the research method. On the contrary to current urbanization politics isolating the urban space from society and in return the society from urban space, the exploration on the everyday life allows a holistic quest on the need for inclusiveness, empowerment and resilience in a world of isolation, fragmentation and displacement.
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1: Inclusiveness and empowerment. Al-Majlis: planning with and for communities
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PhD. Student
ISOCARP / Istanbul Technical University
ISOCARP / Istanbul Technical University

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