Promoting urban rehabilitation with the neighbourhood : from varied experiences to common solutions

Kazım Karabekir neighbourhood, Sarıyer, Istanbul
16-22 April 2011
This seminar and workshop entitled “Promoting Urban Rehabilitation with the Neighbourhood: From Various Experiences to Common Solutions” will take place in Istanbul between 16 and 22 April 2011. It will bring together students, academicians and professionals from various countries (France, Egypt, Turkey), universities and disciplines (urban planning, architecture, sociology, political science, photography…) for a pilot experience of participatory design with the inhabitants of Kazım Karabekir, a neighbourhood located in the district of Sarıyer. It also intends to foster the participation of a large part of the local dwellers by favouring small working groups made of different groups of the population (children, youngsters, elderlies…).



  • Paris-la Villette National School of Architecture (ENSA), resp. Mrs Agnès DEBOULET & Mrs Merril SINEUS (organization)
  • Modern School for Arts and Sciences (MSA), Cairo, resp. Mrs Dina SHEHAYEB (organization)
  • Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (MSGSU), Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul, resp. Mr Murat Cemal YALÇINTAN (organization and host institution)
  • Galatasaray University (GU), Departement of Sociology, Istanbul, resp. Mrs Didem DANIS
  • Boğaziçi University (BU), Department of Sociology, Istanbul, resp. Mr. Tuna KUYUCU
  • French Institute of Anatolian Studies (IFEA), İstanbul, resp., Mr Jean-François PÉROUSE


  • Dayanışmacı Atölye (DA) (Solidarity Studio), resp. Kumru ÇILGIN (organization)
  • Kazım Karabekir Paşa Neighbourhood Association, Sarıyer (host institution)
  • Sarıyer Municipality



Why a participatory workshop?

Participation is usually discussed in the political sphere. However, it is crucial that it also takes its role in the training process of young professionals and researchers. Working on popular and vulnerable sites is another vital dimension of architecture, urbanism and sociology particularly in fast growing metropolitan areas. When these works are carried on together with the people of those sites, they are more valuable. Thus, participatory processes in popular and vulnerable areas are required to become a more common practice.

This seminar-workshop challenges these issues in bringing together an interdisciplinary group of students, researchers, artists, young professionals and academicians from Egypt, France and Turkey. More important is the participation of the people of the selected neighbourhood at Sarıyer to all stages of the event –from developing the issues to organisation- actively.

The event is organized on three main stages: visits and conferences bringing together various specialists of Istanbul urbanization, regeneration and right to the city issues; on-site intensive analysis; studio work and public discussion in the neighbourhood.

Why Kazım Karabekir, Sarıyer?

Different traditions for participation -from institutionalized to bottom-up- are going to be experienced during the workshop on the site chosen (neighbourhood: Kazım Karabekir) because of its organisational capacity to fulfil the need for collective and multi-disciplinary work and their open local demand to cooperate with specialised people to fulfil their urgent needs.

It is one of many popular neighbourhoods in Istanbul where regeneration is expected to take place soon. The neighbourhood had developed as a “gecekondu” area since 1960s and experiencing most of the characteristics of vulnerable areas. There is a developing neighbourhood association of local dwellers and this studio is also expected to assist this development. Some past work on urban and regeneration issues was carried on by the organisation together with Dayanışmacı Atölye (DA), a popular civil initiative, a university based movement focusing mainly on increasing organisational capacity of neighbourhoods and on advocacy planning, constituted of students, academics, professionals, artists and etc. since 2004.

Sarıyer is located along the Bosphorus. It is a rapidly growing district with the neighbouring projects at the new CBD at Levent and Maslak. This rapid growth puts high pressure on the gecekondu neighbourhoods that almost half of the district is constituted of. Local elections in 2009 presented that popular neighbourhoods of the district oppose the idea of regeneration without their consent and changed their local government. Since then there is a developing partnership between the neighbourhood organisations and and the municipality for on-site rehabilitation and fulfilling local demands. The most material manifestation of this partnership is the “neighbourhood house” built last year to host the neighbourhood organisation’s activities including this event.

Aims, objectives and outcomes

There are two aims of the workshop that are linked to each other:

  1. The workshop will attempt to read the neighbourhood from the experiences and observations of the community groups and develop on site solutions together with them. The community groups will be selected –by the neighbourhood organisation- among the different groups of the community such as women, men, youngsters, children, elders and etc in order to present their differences in their living practices.
  2. The neighbourhood organisations in İstanbul are generally represented by middle aged men and it is a need to include the other groups of the community. This workshop will attempt to facilitate the inclusion of these groups that are either excluded or disinterested by involving them directly with the issues of their neighbourhood.

Expected outcomes are then:

    1. Neighbourhood maps of different views on various issues.
    2. Specific solutions on the prioritised problems of the community.
    3. Involvement of different groups to the activities of the neighbourhood organisation.
    4. Stepping forward towards the construction of the political discourse of the neighbourhood based on the popular “say” and assisted with academic and professional knowledge.



  • Public events are indicated in bold italic and greenAmong these events, only the excursion on Sunday requires registration (in order to organize transportation).



13:30: Welcome Lunch (Karaköy)

17:00-23:00: Public meeting organized by the platform of the neighbourhood associations of Sarıyer (Mustafa Kemal Cultural Center,Karanfilköy/Beşiktaş)

SUNDAY 17.04

9.30-15.30: Excursion around the city in transformation: Başakşehir, Kayabaşı, Maslak and Sarıyer. This visit will be guided by Jean-François Pérouse (Galatasaray University), Tuna Kuyucu (Bosphorus University) and Cihan Baysal (Habitat-AGFE local expert). Limited number of participants – registration: Meeting point: Mimar Sinan University at 9.15.

16.00-20.00: Visit of the neighbourhood and meeting with the local dwellers and the neighbourhood organization (Kazım Karabekir neighbourhood house)

20.30: Screening of the documentary film ‘Ecumenopolis. A City without Limits’ (Kazım Karabekir neighbourhood house) (TO BE CONFIRMED)

MONDAY 18.04

10-12am: Meeting with the Municipality of Sarıyer

13.00-15.30: Preparation of the workshop (Kazım Karabekir neighbourhood house)

17.30-21.00: Conference: “A glimpse on Istanbul”. Mimar Sinan University (video-conference room). The conference language will be English. See the program below or donwload it:


9.30-12.30: Seminar: “Searching for common grounds: Participatory Planning Practices from France, Brazil, Egypt and Turkey”. Mimar Sinan University (video-conference room). The conference language will be English. See the program below or donwload it:

From 14.00: FIELDWORK (Kazım Karabekir neighbourhood house)


From 10.00: FIELDWORK / STUDIO WORK (Kazım Karabekir neighbourhood house)


From 10.00: FIELDWORK (Kazım Karabekir neighbourhood house)

FRIDAY 22.04

9.30-11.00 Visit of Tarlabaşı with Erbatur Çavuşoğlu (Mimar Sinan University). Meeting point: Taksim Square at 9.15. (TO BE CONFIRMED)

13.00-18.30: STUDIO WORK (Kazım Karabekir neighbourhood house)

From 19.00: Presentation of the preliminary results (Kazım Karabekir neighbourhood house)

Program of the conference – Monday 18.04, 17:30-21:00
17.30-18.00 – Introduction

The Logic of Spatial (Re-)Production in Istanbul
Erbatur Çavuşoğlu, Mimar Sinan University

18.00-19.30 – 1st session: From Informal Settlements to Urban Transformation
A Sociopolitical History of Istanbul’s Informal Settlements
Hakan Yücel, Galatasaray University

Socio-spatial Segregation and Gated Communities in Istanbul

Didem Danış, Galatasaray University


TOKİ and Urban Transformation Projects as Mechanisms of Property Transfer
Tuna Kuyucu, Bosphorus University

19.30-21.00 – 2nd session: Local Mobilizations and Urban Movements against Urban Transformation Projects

Mobilizations, Negotiations and Participation in the Urban Policy-Making Process
Korhan Gümüş, Istanbul 2010 / Human Settlements Association

From Global Urban Peripheries to Istanbul’s gecekondus: Building the Right to the City
Cihan Baysal, Istanbul Habitat-AGFE local expert

Some Basic Notes on Neighbourhood Organisations

Murat Cemal Yalçıntan, Mimar Sinan University

Program of the seminar – Tuesday 19.04, 9:30-12:30

9.30-10.30 – 1st session: Sharing Decisions in Development Issues 

Researching Urban Issues with Inhabitants: From Analysis to Alternative Project. Experiences in Paris suburbs and Jericho
Agnès Deboulet, Paris-La Villette National School of Architecture

Tools and supports for a cooperative planning: from information to co-production
Khedidja Mamou, Paris-La Villette NSA

Urban Renewal and Empowerment in a Brazilian Favela: Candeal, Salvador de Bahia

Merril Sineus, Paris-La Villette NSA

10.30-11.30 – 2nd session: Planning by Informality

An overview of Informal Areas in Egypt
Dina Shehayeb, Modern School for Arts and Sciences, Cairo

Identity Dynamics of People and Place in Informal Areas

Ahmad Al-Helo, MSA, Cairo

Finding a Voice: Informal Areas post-25th January Revolution

Salma Belal, Arab Academy for Science and Technology and Maritime Transport, Cairo

Parallels with Tahrir Square: Self-Governance Model

Ahmad Borham, MSA, Cairo

Participatory Planning: Externalized and Internalized Practices

Dina Shehayeb, MSA, Cairo

11.30-12.30 – 3rd session: Neighbourhood Organizations: From Advocacy to Self-Organization

A Self-Organisation Experience through Planning: Gülensu Neighbourhood
Murat Yalçıntan, Mimar Sinan University

Neither Bottom-up Mobilization nor Top-down Recognition: Participation in Sulukule?
Yaşar Adanalı, University of Stuttgart / Istanbul

The Movement against Urban Transformation in Kazım Karabekir neigbourhood
Gizem Aksumer, Istanbul Technical University


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