Critique of the Kartal-Pendik Project

Essay, 2011

17 Pages

Free online reading


Land Area

783,562 sq km (including lakes and islands), of which 29.81% arable; 3.39% orchards, olive groves and vineyards; 66.8% other

(Source: Central Intelligence Agency)


78,785,548 (July 2011 est.), 27,438,000 (1960): +176%

17th most populated country in the world

Population growth: 1.235% (2011 est.)

Population under: 14: 26.6%

Population 15-64: 67.1%

Population over 65: 6.3%

Median age: 28.5

Urban population: 70% (2010), 31.5% (1960)

Rate of urbanization: 1.7% annual (estimated to 2015)

(Source: Central Intelligence Agency)


GDP PPP (US$ bn): 958.3 (2010 est.), rank 17; 97.7 (1960) +726%

GDP real growth 2010: +7.3% (2010 est.), rank 20

GDP per head PPP (US$): 12,300, (2010 est.), rank 94

Deficit account: 6.7% of GDP in 2010

Inflation: 4% (2010 est.)

(Source: Central Intelligence Agency)

Household income per percentage share

Lowest 10%: 1.9%

Highest 10%: 33.2% (2005)

(Source: Central Intelligence Agency)

Origins of GDP in percentage of total (2010)

Agriculture 8.8

Manufacturing 25.7

Services 65.5

(Source: Central Intelligence Agency)

Structure of employment percentage of total (2005)

Agriculture 29.5

Manufacturing 24.7

Services 45.8

(Source: Central Intelligence Agency)

Components of GDP in percentage of total

Private consumption 71.5

Public consumption 14.1

Investment 24.6

Exports 24.0

Imports -31.5

(Source: Economist Intelligence Unit)

illustration not visible in this excerpt


Kartal and Pendik are two districts of Istanbul located in the south coast of the Anatolian side. Together they host the “Urban Regeneration Project for Kartal sub-centre & Kartal-Pendik waterfront” area. In order to understand the project´s development priorities, it is relevant to position it in the wider national and city context.


Turkey´s population growth is 1.2% and its rate of urbanization is 1.7% per annum. This means that for every three new born there are approximately four people moving to the city. Today 70% of the Turkish population lives in urban areas. Istanbul dwells almost 18% of the national population and grows at a pace of 14 new residents every hour, roughly equal to 122,000 people a year (Urban Age). This will continue for the next 25 years, positioning ultimately the city among the top twenty biggest on Earth. It is a city of contrasts: divided geographically in European and Asian side and yet connected by a flow of 1,200,000 people, that crosses the Bosporus Strait every day. This flow is composed mainly by people that were not born in Istanbul, and that constitute today 62.24% of its population. Istanbul´s population is split in two unequal parts: 65% resides in the west and 35% in the east. 47% of Istanbul´s land area of 5,343 sq km is forested and 16% is built up. The tension between built and un-built is strong with continuous pressures of expansion towards the forested area.


Turkey GDP has grown 726% in the last 50 years positioning the country as the 15th biggest economy in the world. The economic growth forecast for 2010 is 7.3%, eclipsing most of the EU countries’ economic performances: UK (GDP growth 1.3%), France (GDP growth 1.6%), Germany (GDP growth 2.6%) and the US (GDP growth 2.9%) (OECD). Turkey’s strongest economic sector is the


2009 US$2.27bn

2008 US$6.30bn

Revenue totalled for privatization in US$ 928.8 m for the first five months of 2010

(Source: World Economic Forum)


Exports: $ 117.4 billion (2010 est.), rank 32

Apparel, foodstuff, textiles, metal manufactures

Imports: $ 166.3 billion (2010 est.), rank 25

Machinery, chemicals, semi-finished goods, fuels, transport equipment

(Source: Central Intelligence Agency)

Leading markets % of total in 2009

Germany 9.6

France 6.1

UK 5.8

Leading suppliers % of total in 2009

Russia 14

Germany 10

China 9

(Source: Central Intelligence Agency)

Foreign Direct Investments

Inflow of FDI in 2010 US$ 10bn

Inflow of FDI in 2007 US$ 22.2bn

(Source: Economist Intelligence Unit)


CO2 emissions (tons per capita) 3.7 (2008), 1.1 (1971): +224%

Renewable energy (% of energy supply) 9.5 (2008), 31.0 (1971): -69%

OECD: 7.1%

% energy output exported 7.7

% energy consumption imported 74.9

(Source: OECD)


Land area under protected status: 1.2% (the 3rd lowest in the world)

(Source: OECD)

Working force

Unemployment 10.3% (2010 est.)

(Source: Central Intelligence Agency)

Self Employed (% of employ.): 39.0 (2009), 61.9 (1990)

36% Women as % of labor force

(Source: World Bank)

Government expenditure as percentage of GDP

18, rank 111, (2010 est.)

(Source: Central Intelligence Agency)

Military expenditure as percentage of GDP

5.3, rank 15 (2010 est.)

(Source: Central Intelligence Agency)

Health expenditure as percentage of GDP

3.4, rank 69

(Source: OECD)

Education expenditure as percentage of GDP

2.9, rank 149 (2006)

(Source: United Nations Development Programme)

US$ spent per child per year 800

US$ spent per child per year in the OECD 7000

(Source: World Economic Forum)

Research and Development expenditure as percentage of GDP

0.72; rank 33 out of 39 of the OECD

(Source: OECD)

service one which originates 65.1% of the GDP; it is also the one that employs the highest percentage of labour force with 50% in Turkey, 60% in Istanbul and in Kartal-Pendik districts this percentage reaches 68 (Turkish Statistical Institute). In 1980 inflation reached 138.71% (Trade Economics) consequently the International Monetary Fund stepped in with its neoliberal plan, which included a mixture of market liberalization, the privatization of previously public-run enterprises and the cut of the government’s spending (Enlil, 2011). Istanbul became the perfect place to materialize the neoliberal ideology, as Turkey´s only global city (Enlil, 2011: 28). “First, the economic base of the city began to change from manufacturing to finance and services. Employment in producer services expanded rapidly: employment in finance increasing by 37%, insurance by 36%, real-estate and business services by 220%, meanwhile, consumer services and retailing activities rose by 65.5% and 77.5%, respectively, between 1980 and 1990” (Enlil, 2011: 15). “Second, from 1983 there was a significant increase in foreign direct investment, which grew between 1980 and 1998 by 320%” (Enlil, 2011: 15). IMF structural adjustment programme bashed the inflation down to the current 4%, but brought along profound social and spatial inequalities (Lovering and Turkmen: 2011).“Between 1995 and 2005 Turkey had the largest regional differences in GDP growth of all OECD countries” (OECD). Istanbul the richest area of Turkey concentrates 27% of the national GDP (2010) and its inhabitant’s GDP dispose exceeds the national average by more than 70%. It is the region in Turkey that registers the highest economic inequalities (GINI index 0.43): It is a city of 13 billionaires and one million people that live with less than two dollars a day. Istanbul provides 40% of the total tax revenue of Turkey, and at the same time 30% of the employment in the city is not registered, some recent research suggests that half of the employment of the city is informal (Enlil, 2011). At a national scale 17.5% of the population equal to 12,000,000 inhabitants lives in poverty.


Population living with less than $2 a day: 9% (2008) more than 6 million people

(Source: International Human Development Indicators)

Poverty rate (% of population): 17.5, (2008), more than 12 million people

(Source: Central Intelligence Agency)


Road network: 385,960km (13th in the world) 34% are paved

Air travel: 20,948,000 million passengers (20th in the world)

Railway networks: 8,700,000 km (23rd in the world)

Largest merchant fleets by number of vessels: 1,146 (22nd in the world)

95 cars per 1,000 inhabitants (the lowest car ownership rate of all OECD countries)

Most accidents, number of people injured per 100m vehicle-km, 2000. Turkey with 228 is number 8 in the world. (UK is 94)

(Source: OECD)

Territorial Differences disparities

Turkey is the OECD country that features the largest levels of regional GDP per capita disparities.

(Source: OECD)

Ease of Doing Business

Turkey ranks 65 out of 183 economies

Starting a Business: rank 63

Dealing with Construction Permits: rank 137

Registering Property: rank 38

Getting Credit: rank 72

Paying Taxes: rank 75

Starting a Business

Procedures (number) 6

Time (days) 6

Cost (% of income per capita) 17.2

Dealing with Construction Permits

Procedures (number) 25

Time (days) 188

Cost (% of income per capita) 231.4

Registering Property

Procedures (number) 6

Time (days) 6

Cost (% of property value) 3.0

Paying Taxes

Payments (number per year) 15

Time (hours per year) 223

Profit tax (%) 17.0

Labor tax and contributions (%) 23.1

Other taxes (%) 4.4

Total tax rate (% profit) 44.5

(Source: Doing Business)

Indexes out of 169 countries

Human Development Index: 0.679, rank 83

Life Expectancy: 72.2 years, rank 126 (the lowest in the OECD countries)

Adult literacy rate (% aged 15 and over): 87.7%, rank 99

Gender Inequality Index: 0.585, rank 105 the highest among the OECD countries

Gini Index: 41 (2007), rank 55 the highest among the OECD countries after Mexico

Global Competiveness Index: rank 61 out if 133 countries listed (2010)

(Source: United Nations Development Programme)

Economic Freedom Index: 3.35 rank 67

(Source: World Economic Forum)

Social Context

Among the main world´s indicators Turkey scores the highest in the Global Competiveness Index, where it ranks 61 and in the Economic Freedom Index, where it ranks 67. It ranks 83 in the Human Development Index. The latter is based on three components: GDP per-capita, life expectancy and education. Turkey ranks 62 in per GDP per-capita Index, Life Expectancy Index is the lowest among the 34 OECD countries and it ranks 99 in the Adult Literacy Index. Last but not least it ranks 105 out of 115 countries in the Gender Inequality Index. Despite the economic growth the social indicators indexes are severely low. These social inequalities are most evident in the city of Istanbul where 50% of the settlements are illegal and more than 30% of the employment sector falls out of the regulatory frame. The unemployment rate is 11.4% in Istanbul (Turkey is 10.3%), and female participation in the working force is 25.9%, the worst rate in Europe, even below the national average of 36% (Lovering and Evren, 2011).

Key Challenges

The key challenge for Istanbul is therefore its social economic structure. The economic concentration present in Istanbul generates a strong asymmetry with the rest of the country and consequent migration from the most rural economic-underperforming areas of Turkey. This generates an immense demographic pressure difficult to manage. The economic inequality is not just on a national level but persists within the city: Istanbul is the most unequal area of Turkey in income distribution.


Land Area

5,343 sq km, of which 16% is built-up, 47% is forested

One Metropolitan Municipality composed of 39 districts

(Source: OECD)

Municipality budget: over 11 billion US$,(Reclaim Istanbul)


12,915,158 (01-01-2010) (Source: OECD)

17.8% of the Turkish population (Source: OECD)

1,000 percent population increase since 1950, the highest of the OECD’s 78 metro cities (urban age)

35 % lives on the Asian side (Anatolia), 65 % on the European side

Population growth rate: 3.3% (Source: Urban Age)

Between 1970 and 2000 it received 4 million immigrants (Source: OECD)

Density (population per sq km) 7,007, 19th densest city in the world

Peak density: 68,602 people per km2 (Source: Urban Age)

62.24 % are born outside of Istanbul (Source: OECD)

Net migration rate in 1990: 10.76%

Net migration rate in 2008: 0.2%

32% of the population is under 20

(Source: Urban Age)


It concentrates 27% of the national GDP (2010)

GDP per capita exceeds the national average by more than 70% (Highest level among OECD metro-regions)

Istanbul runs 12th of the 38 metro regions in the OECD countries for its growth rate in GDP 1995-2000

Unemployment: 11.2% (2008)

(Source: OECD)

38% of the national industrial output

50% of the national services provided

40% of the national tax revenue

(Source: Urban Age)


37% manufacturing

60% services

Female participation 25.9% in 2000 below the national average of 36%

30 is informal employment turkey is 33% (highest % in the construction field)

For some researchers this percentage is 50% (Enlil, 2011)

(Source: OECD)

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Istanbul receives 84,000 new cars a year, calculating that each car needs 10 linear meters when parked that is equal to a line ok 800km that needs to be accommodated in the city. The number of motor vehicles has increased 647% (from 1980 to 2005), and population has increased by 142%. Cost of congestion has been estimated to USD 7.2 billion a year (OECD). This means that more than 60% of the total investment budget of US$11bn of the municipality is spent on transport infrastructures every year (Reclaim Istanbul), despite the fact that 47% of the daily journeys are by walking (Urban Age). Informality in the employment and housing constitute serious issues for Istanbul. It takes 188 days and 231.4% of the average income per capita in Turkey to deal with a construction permit (Doing Business). This makes impossible for most of the low-income citizens to ever get a step into the property ladder.

Economy by sector

Commerce: 34.6%

Chemical and pharmaceutical cluster: 17.8%

Textile cluster: 17.2%

Electronic cluster: 8%

Machine building cluster: 5.6%

Transport, storage and communication: 8.5%

Agriculture: 8.1%

Other: 0.2%

(Source: OECD)

% share of the industry sector in Istanbul compared to the national total (ENLIL, 2011)

20 in 1950

46 in 1980


Of the more than 19,000 foreign firms operating in Turkey, well over half are headquartered in Istanbul.

In 2005 companies based in Istanbul made exports worth $41,397,000,000 and imports worth $69,883,000,000; which corresponded to 56.6% and 60.2% of Turkey's exports and imports, respectively, in that year.

(Source: Economist Intelligence Unit)


CO2 emission per capita 2,720, London 5,599 kg per capita

(Source: Urban Age)


Universities: 23 (29% of the total in Turkey)

(Source: OECD)


2,710,802 cars

Car ownership 139 per 1,000, London is 345 (Source: Urban Age)

9.6 more cars per hour in Istanbul: 84,000 a year

1,200,000 cross the Bosporus Strait everyday

Cars in Istanbul are 25% of all the cars in the country

Metro 32km, Rail 162km

London metro 367km, rail 1,393km

2 International Airports, 1 private and several military

(Source: OECD)

Modal Split

41% public transport

45% walking

14% private motorized

(Source: Urban Age)


Istanbul had a total of 13 billionaires as of March 2009, ranking seven in the world


Gini Index Istanbul is 43 for London is 32

Among the fifteen cities with the highest Human Capita in the world

Informal settlements “Gecekondu” hosts 50% of the population

(Source: Urban Age)

High rise buildings

4 buildings higher than 20 levels in 1980

24 in 1990

50 in 2000

(Reclaim Istanbul)


Tourists: 7.049.234 (in 2008), which is 28% of total arrivals in Turkey (approximately 26million tourists for 2008)

Hotels: 766

28 five star, 57 four star, 80 three star, 75 two star, 18 one star, 38 special category

Beds: 93.300 (as of Aug 2010) (Reclaim Istanbul)

Development Priorities


-Increase public spending, Turkey ranks 133 out of 172 countries. Government’s public spending is 18% of the GDP and almost one third of it goes into military expenditure.
-Invest more in public health, education, R&D and in fighting gender inequality.
-Reduce the regional disparities and alleviate the economic overheating of Istanbul’s region.
-Strengthen the rural economy and enhance another type of urbanization that does not always prioritize the global city model but also the small town scale sustainability model. This will limit the number of emigrants that relocate in Istanbul.


-Bring people into legality by helping them formalizing their own businesses and their own dwellings; this on a long term will increase tax revenues and therefore strengthen the welfare state.
-Accommodate the growing population by retrofitting and upgrading the existing built heritage first and second by building the new in unison with community services, employment initiatives and the public transport system.
-The congestion cannot be solved by using the same means (more bridges and roads) but by developing a public transportation system and a type of urbanism that enhances the appropriate demographic density, mix of uses, small scale neighborhood and the access to public transport.
-Develop a social, legal and spatial framework to overcome the social polarization. Invest in the public realm and in community projects.
-Develop a plan that will protect the ecological system from the hazards of the sprawl, by designing city boundary limits and by defining protected natural areas.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten Istanbul’s main artery, harbours (blue spots), airports (black spots) and the designed Kartal-Pendik area circled in orange


The scope

In 2006 an international competition was launched by IMP (Greater Istanbul Municipality) to develop a 5.5 sq km selected area, split between Kartal and Pendik districts. The area is located in the south-east of Istanbul, approximately at a distance of 25 km from the historical centre. The design brief has the scope: “to create an alternative new centre with business centres, theatres, concert halls, congress halls, and marinas against the mono centric structure of Istanbul. By this way the abandoned area will be prevented from evolving into an urban decay region, and the urban life quality will be increased” (Kartal-Pendik Design Brief). Designers are therefore expected to develop their own vision “to improve the quality of urban life and create innovative, unique urban centres which are sensitive to the ecological values” (Kartal-Pendik Design Brief). Zaha Hadid Architects’ proposal is the winner.

Analysis of the project area

The 5.5 sq km project area is located between the Sea of Marmara to the south and the TEM motorway to the north, 35,000 people live in it today. Motorways, ferries, suburban railways, the Kartal Metro extension and the completion of the Marmaray rail make the location as one of the most accessible sites in Istanbul. The presence of the International Sabiha Gökçen Airport, Formula 1 track, the newly developing Pendik “silicon valley”, and Sabancı University contribute to the economic structure of the area together with small-scale commerce and manufacturing. At the time of the design brief there were no planning decisions regarding the area (Kartal-Pendik Design Brief).

Kartal and Pendik

Kartal 541,209 inhabitants, land area 147 sq km

Pendik 625 inhabitants, land area 365 202 sq km

(Source: Turkish Statistical Institute)

Project´s Area: 35,000 people live in it

Land Ownership 47% Private, 53 % Public

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten Kartal Pendik Area, source Design Brief

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten Kartal Pendik Area, source Design Brief

Recommendations and guides

There are virtually no spatial constraints in the brief. The main limitation says that “40 % of the area shall be utilized for roads, green areas, sport areas, cultural facilities and similar amenities”, but at the same time it is not clearly specified the exact geographical location of it. The designers can choose two floor area ratio coefficients: either 2 or 3 which are able to generate respectively 4 or 6 million sq metres of surface. Zaha Hadid Architects chose 3.

Development Priorities

As part of the grand scheme of making Kartal-Pendik an international centre two requirements are particularly stressed: commerce and service areas and high quality housing.

The centre shall include offices, banks, business centres, culture industries, high-tech centres, shopping centres, restaurants, coffee houses, business firm head quarters, malls, show-rooms, and hotels. The quality of housing shall reflect the new status of the area favouring developments with private sports centres (Kartal-Pendik Design Brief). Kartal-Pendik development will create more than 100,000 new jobs and will affect a population of 2 million in the region (CNBC Business). The whole must be sensible for the environment.

Key priorities

-To create a new international centre with high quality housing and service centres
-To improve the quality of urban life and create innovative, unique urban centre which is sensitive to the ecological values

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten(Source: Zaha Hadid Architects)

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten(Source: Zaha Hadid Architects)


Istanbul is competing to be one of the main global cities in the world. This scope has been in the national political agenda since the structural adjustment programme launched in1980 (Yeldan, 2006). With this in mind Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM), Istanbul Metropolitan Planning and Urban Design Centre (IMP) produced in May 2006 a master plan for the city (Steele & Shafik, 2010: 5). In 2008, the latest plan was formulated with the scope to establish a balance between conservation and development and integrate the city into the world economy, to reassert its position as a major metropolis in its region and to promote Istanbul as a site of global historical and cultural significance by the year 2023 (IMM, 2009) (Steele & Shafik, 2010). It was also stated that Istanbul is suffering from having just a single centre in the European side and a counter balance needs to be created on the Anatolian side in order to limit congestion: Kartal-Pendik was therefore selected (Steele & Shafik, 2010). The plan focuses on five main strategies:

-Istanbul as global city;
-Sustainable development;
-Istanbul as world city of culture;
-Invest on the service sector;
-Improve the quality of life

These points were then reinforced with the sixteen-page-document titled “Strategic Plan 2010-2014”. The plan aims at improving the quality of life of the city by developing a strong social, environmental and economic sustainable city based on public participation, respect of the natural, historical and cultural heritage.

The Urban Regeneration Project for Kartal-Pendik is part of this vision: to overcome the mono centric nature of the city and at the same time creating a new international centre sensible for the environment with top-end quality housing and service centres. But in the passage from Vision (IMM, IMP and Strategic Plan) to Kartal-Pendik Design Brief (KPDB) and then to the Zaha Hadid’s project there are significant losses. The table below shows the main strategies and key-words used to describe each initiative.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Words like public participation support the social needs, equity, limit the congestion disappear from the KPDB, and instead the word international centre is repeated thirteen times in the 26-page document. The social and physical existing context of Kartal-Pendik site is first denied “abandoned area” and then considered an “accessory” in the KPDB and “designers are free to preserve these amenities if they choose to”. The following table shows the existing amenities that will be erased.

Land Uses in percentage of the total area

illustration not visible in this excerpt

(Source: Kartal-Pendik Design Brief)

Zaha Hadid Architects’ winning proposal responded well to the KPDB (even though there is no reference on the ecological values), by producing a plan able to accommodate 6 million square metres development (four times bigger than Canary Wharf development). Hadid’s starts from a tabula rasa and then recreates “open conditions that can transform from detached buildings to perimeter blocks, and ultimately into hybrid systems that can create a porous, interconnected network of open spaces that meanders throughout the city” (Zaha Hadid Architects). But physical open spaces do not necessarily become socially inclusive spaces, especially when there isn’t the intention to integrate the existing context in the future project, so how can people participate in designing their future?

Michel Foucault was asked if architecture could resolve social problems, he responded: “I think that it can and does produce positive effects when the liberating intentions of the architect coincide with the real practice of people in their exercise of their freedom” (Foucault, 1982).This has not been the case in Kartal-Pendik. A property-led development this can have positive “economic effects when it becomes part of a more holistic approach that embodies concerns for people living in deprived areas and for the underlying condition of the local economy” (Turok, 1992: 370), and since the local conditions are not assessed, and efforts to integrate them are not present at all, then the risk of failure of the project is high.

The aims of KPDB do not match the real priority of the city shown in part one. KPDB mega-project will further contribute in constructing a more divided city by separating rich and poor and offering a lifestyle reserved only to those who can afford it (“High Quality Housing with Private Sport Centres”). KPDB celebrates the role of Istanbul as a global city and by doing so it exacerbates the economic and spatial disparity present at a national level and puts more pressure on the housing market and adds on to the congestion issue which is a further threat on the environment. Istanbul’s carrying capacity can no longer allow further exploitation of its natural resources (Enlil, 2011: 22). Finally, how can the city talk about social needs and not invest a euro in the Kartal Pendik project? (CNBC Business).

Neoliberalism and Istanbul

“Nothing is more dangerous than an idea – if it is the only idea” Émile-Auguste Chartier (1868-1951)

Kartal-Pendik’s story has many predecessors in Istanbul and in the world. It is an old story that tells us that quality of life can be achieved primarily with economic growth. It is part of the neoliberal´s thought.

“Neo-liberalism is in the first instance a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterised by strong private property rights, free-markets, and free trade. The role of the state is to create and preserve an institutional framework appropriate to such practices” (Harvey, 2005: 2).

The “liberalization” of Istanbul urban economy and indeed of Turkey, started in the 80s with the IMF structural adjustment programme: rolling back the state, commodity trade liberalization, financial deregulation, privatization of public assets and new labour laws mainly seeking to create a flexible labour market (Yeldan, 2006), this is a well known package, but “the institutional and ideological framework through which neoliberalization is accompanied by authoritarianism is uniquely Turkish. The centrality of effectively unaccountable state institutions, the unabashed use of physical coercion, the use of public relations media to ‘talk-up’ developments, the celebration of exotic proposals drawn up by foreign ‘star’ architects as lures for global investors, and the resort to a version of ‘modernizing cultural politics’ to disadvantage inconvenient groups resisting removal, in order to create a city appealing to elite groups, all have Ottoman echoes” (Lovering & Turkmen, 2011: 92). Nevertheless the economic indicators are unequivocal, national GDP has increased 6-fold since 1980 (World Bank). But should economic growth be the ultimate scope in the city-making and the only tool to measure the quality of life?

The market fails. “It fails in the ability to provide stable economic growth and an adequate standard of living for all of society’s members” (Klosterman, 1985: 91), it fails because we are not always rational creatures and our understanding of reality is limited: “we have bounded rationality” (Chang, 2010: 168). It fails, also, because the concept of freedom is a very slippery one, powerful, important but also equivocal. Karl Polanyi in 1944 pointed out that the meaning of freedom is contradictory. There are two kinds of freedom, “one good and the other bad. [...] there is also the freedom to make inordinate gains without commensurable service to the community” (Harvey, 2005: 36). And above all “values of individual freedom and social justice are not, however, necessarily compatible” (Harvey, 2005: 41). What it is good for one person is not necessarily good for the plurality of the people.

The idea of One-Big-Idea has been dominating Istanbul political agenda in the last 30 years: the neoliberal one. But only one-big-idea cannot dominate Istanbul, or any other city. Cities need diversity: “a city is composed of different kinds of men; similar people cannot bring a city into existence” (Aristotle, The Politics). Diversity comes by acknowledging the local situation, the multifaceted reality of its people and places. Istanbul is a city in which 95% of the manufacturing firms are made up of maximum three people; it is a city wherein women participation at work dropped from 44% in 1980 to 25.9% (World Bank).

Focusing only on big-scale developments poses the risk of marginalising the local community (Dursun & Ekmekci, 2010). This is an attack on the ordinary lives of the citizens. And this has produced two distinct phenomena in the city social and spatial landscape: the displacement of the low income residents at the periphery of the city, and the construction of gated communities for the high income residents: Istanbul has become a socially and spatially segregated city (Dursun and Ekmekci: 2010). The exclusionary elitists’ mechanisms that are happening in Kartal-Pendik have happened in many other areas of Istanbul (Aksoy, 2009). According to a United Nations-sponsored inquiry evictions counted to 80,000 people in 2009 (Lovering and Turkmen, 2011: 82).

In Sulukule neighbourhood a 1,000 years old Roma community was evicted by the authoritarian law 5366 that allows, municipalities and TOKI (The Mass Housing Administration of Turkey) to carry out urban “renewal” projects in historic areas without citizen’s participation (Reclaim Istanbul). Korhan Gumus, an architect and urban planner says:"In this model, there is no social program or rehabilitation. There are only market operations" (The Christian Science). Mehmet Asim Hallaq a local spokesman adds:"This is a kind of aesthetic assimilation they're trying to impose on us. It´s all part of what locals call the ‘Dubaification’ of Istanbul" (Global Post). The lack of social programs, “the retreat of the welfare state structures alongside the collapse of informal and identity-based incorporation mechanism in the city have created exclusionary dynamics that operate on a much larger scale than ever before. Istanbul lacks a vision to engage the mounting exclusionary dynamics of market-based relations” (Aksoy, 2009: 51). Embracing neo-liberalism is a choice, it is a political project, and it is only one of the ways to intend capitalism (Chang 2010). Prime Minister Erdogan declared that his duty is “to market the country”; whilst the metropolitan mayor Kadir Topbas says “Istanbul should shed its industrial profile... Istanbul should, from now on, become a financial centre, a cultural centre, and a congress tourism centre” (Aksoy, 2009). KPDB is embedded in this neoliberal political discourse that prioritizes profit and exclusionary forces more than social justice and integration. Breaking away from the illusion of market objectivity is the first step towards understanding capitalism” (Chang, 2010: 10). There is the need for a new politics of openness – a new perspective based on the notion that ‘a different global model is possible’ (Aksoy, 2009).

The Map of the Gated Communities (Black dots) and Gecekondus (darker areas)Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten(Source: Urban Age)

The Map of Force Evictions in Istanbul 2010Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten Prepared by Istanbul Research Group Workshop

Learning from Bogotá

“Economic growth and economic development are different in that growth is only a quantitative expansion, while development denotes qualitative change”

Joseph Alois Schumpeter (1883-1950)

Bogotá represents an alternative to the neoliberal model. “It was transformed from, one of the most chaotic cities in the world, to a model of urban development and transport” (Montezuma, 2005: 10). In 1995 Antanas Mockus is elected Mayor of Bogotá, a position that he will serve till 1997. His political agenda “Educate the City” included as aims the culture of citizenship, the value of the public space and respect of the environment, social progress, urban productivity and institutional legitimacy (Montezuma, 2005). These goals were then implemented by Enrique Peñalosa (Mayor of Bogotá from 1998-2000) with his political agenda, “For the Bogota We Love”, based on social integration, urbanism and service, city on human scale, institutional efficiency and social and economic inclusion of low-income and informal workers and residents. For Peñalosa cities are a product of the community, therefore a city can be sustainable only if it is able to operate from an equity and democratic platform: “the public good must prevail over private interests” (Peñalosa, 2009). Under Peñalosa the public transport was greatly improved and resources for public education doubled consequently the number of youth attending school rose by 140,000 students, a 30% increase. Regarding safety, the number of violent deaths fell by 42% (Montezuma, 2005). This experience challenges the neoliberal model by instilling trust on the government’s ability to improve the quality of life of its citizens. Trust needs to be earned. Mockus and Peñalosa´s teams were made up of a high percentage of young academics and professionals, including many women, with a solid ethical and professional spirit. This reduced corruption, increased staff efficiency, and improved the quality of contracts with the private sector (Montezuma, 2005). Mockus professed what he called the culture of citizenship as “the sum of habits, behaviours, actions and minimum common rules that generate a sense of belonging, facilitate harmony among citizens, and lead to respect for shared property and heritage and the recognition of citizens’ rights and duties.” With the words of the Columbian novelist Juan Gabriel Vásquez: “Antanas Mockus has taught the Bogotanos to live together again" (Jaggi, 2010). “According to Rothstein, it is differing levels of trust, not differing principles of justice, which primarily explain the variations in support for the welfare state across the Western democracies” (Kymlicka, 2002: 158). So how can trust be created?

The World Development Report (2006) “Equity and Development” points out that: greater equity implies more efficient economic functioning, reduced conflict, greater trust and better institutions, with dynamic benefits for investment and growth. Better opportunities mean better possibilities to improve life conditions. Amartya Sen talks about development as the removal of the various types of unfreedoms (gender inequality, poverty, illiteracy) that limit people´s opportunities. Development should concentrate in expanding the real freedoms, and not just the entrepreneurial ones, because what people can achieve is influenced by the opportunities that are offered to them. “Development is therefore the expansion of human capability to lead more worthwhile and freer lives” (Sen, 1999: 295). “The need for public policy initiatives in creating social opportunities is crucially important” (Sen, 1999: 43). This should be at the base of any political agenda that has as a scope the betterment of the quality of life of its citizens. “There can be no sustainable city without social justice and political participation as well as economic vitality and ecological regeneration” (Perlman & O´Meera Sheehan, 2007: 173), a city needs the multiplicity of these interactions and not one-club solution. This means celebrating the diversity, working also with the small-scale granular structure of a city, it means empowering the citizens and not impose on them one-big-idea. It means including everybody in the decision-making, especially the most unheard “they are the greatest untapped source of ideas about improving their cities and lives” (Perlman & O´Meera Sheehan, 2007: 174).

Istanbul offers an immense potential: 30% of its workers are out of legality, 50% of its built environment is out of any legal frame, it has the lowest women workforce participation among the OECD countries and 32% of its population is under twenty. These are the untapped sources. Implementing the changes to bring them into legality is a political responsibility (de Soto, 2000).

Joseph Alois Schumpeter said that “property rights secure the creation of money” so it is important to extend these rights to the people. Today dealing with a construction’s permit takes up to 188 days and costs 231.4% of the average income per capita. Istanbul has started legalizing some Gecekondus, but it is not enough to give people legal rights because “people will stay illegal until their trust for the government is strong enough and when they are certain that their rights will be protected” (de Soto, 2000: 204).Trust is directly connected with equity and social justice (World Development Report, 2006). The quest for trust must be sought on both sides. The legal political side ought to know its citizens: “The law needs to know what the people want” (de Soto, 2000: 169), and the citizens must respect the law. Until cases like Sulukule happen, then people will not have trust in the government. The vision that currently dominates planning in and for Istanbul fails to recognize the importance of justice, of social inclusion and sustainability, and of the physical environment (Lovering & Evren, 2011:5).

This is the biggest obstacle that KPDB has to overcome.

What strategies then?

Cities are the primary, cultural, political, social and economic forces of the world. They are places of creation, innovation and economic growth but at the same time they are places of profound social and economic inequities (Soja and Kanai, 2007). Istanbul is part of this dualism. Neoliberal´s urban policies have swelled the city GDP six folds since 1980 but have also contributed to the eviction of the former working class from the most central parts of the city to peripheral areas (Turkun, 2011). This is creating severe economic and social problems for the majority of low-income people, who still constitute the labour force of Istanbul’s main industrial establishments and burgeoning service sector (Turkun, 2011). Harvey defines this process as “accumulation by dispossession” (Harvey, 2008:15). This is happening in Kartal and Pendik.

The challenge in city-making is to find forms of governance able to use the generative economic aspect of the city, in a more equal way for all the citizens (Soja and Kanai, 2007), (Harvey, 2008). “It is not easy to create a truly sustainable city, but certain condition must be met: transparent governance, decent legal work, innovative infrastructures to conserve the environment, intelligent land use with integrated community development and social cohesion along with cultural diversity” (Perlman & O´Meera, 2007: 185). What strategies can Istanbul adopt to eliminate the obstacles present in the KPDB to reach a truly sustainable development?


Pierre Bourdieau defines neo-liberalism as “a program of the methodical destruction of collectives” (Davis, Monk 2007, page x)

“A society cannot flourish without some sense of shared purpose” (Layard, 2005: 234)

To remove the obstacles towards a truly sustainable development and meet the development priorities illustrated in the first part, Turkey and Istanbul have to move away from the neoliberal model. “When we understand that the modern economy is populated by people with limited rationality and complex motives, who are organized in a complex way, combining markets, (private and public) bureaucracies and networks, we begin to understand that our economy cannot be run according to free-market economics” (Chang, 2010: 250). It means reconstruct the culture of citizenship. Urbanism plays a significant role in city-making because it is a political act and a form of governance (Peñalosa 2007). The way we build our city determines, in large extents, our quality of life for a very long period in the future (Peñalosa 2007).

Istanbul Strategies

-Foster trust, public participation and social justice
-Switch the political agenda from growth and competition to the one of fighting poverty
-Stop marketing the city with mega projects
-Stop the privatization process that is draining the long-term ability of the city to support itself
-Stop the eviction of the people and the transfer of their land into the hands of private real estate developers
-Avoid the construction of mono-functional clusters, CBD and gated communities which exacerbate congestion problems
-Invest in the small and diverse micro entrepreneurial structure of the city, enhance forms of microcredit, adult education and labour training
-Legalize the Gecekondus and adopt a policy that facilitates retrofitting instead than clearing out
-Legalize the informal jobs
-Invest in the public space, education, schools and libraries
-Build affordable houses, integrated with the rest of the city
-Improve the public transport and discourage the use of the private transport

“Pursuit of social justice presupposes social solidarities and a willingness to submerge individual wants, needs and desires in the cause of some more general struggle for, say, social equality or environmental justice” (Harvey, 2005: 41) By redesigning the rules that produce the city we redesign ourselves, this is the constant process that is at the base of city-making.


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Web sites accessed during April 2010

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Central Intelligence Agency:

CNBC Business:

Doing Business:

Economist Intelligence Unit:


Global Post:

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Reclaim Istanbul:

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Urban Age:

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Zaha Hadid Architects:

17 of 17 pages


Critique of the Kartal-Pendik Project
London School of Economics
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Massimo Santanicchia (Author), 2011, Critique of the Kartal-Pendik Project, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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