Taking Newman’s “Defensible Space Theory into consideration, data presented in this article was collected by the International Strategic Research Organization as part of the four year, 2008 – 2012, Istanbul Urban Safety Project. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used in the study. Quantitative methods included a large questionnaire survey administered to two samples: households and workplaces; together with analysis of secondary data. The qualitative dimension comprised semi-structured, open-ended interviews with a number of senior officials involved in urban safety in Istanbul. This study argues that the state has abandoned its regulatory role within democratic urban politics; instead taking urbanization measures to further advantage the privileged elites at both a local and national level. Furthermore, it proposes that undemocratic urbanization policies are legitimised mainly on the basis of earthquake anxiety, together with some unsubstantiated issues such as security concerns, criminalization and marginalization.
Keywords:Istanbul; Urban regeneration; Inner city decay; Slum; Urban security
Latterly Istanbul has been changing and ‘developing’ via transformative processes which are still continuing and show no sign of ending. Spatial separation in Istanbul has nurtured social, economic and political inequalities via the city’s vertical segregation approach in which the elite live and work in exclusive office towers, housing blocks and shopping malls that are being constructed at an alarming rate. Istanbul presents a vivid and visually stunning example of how the rich lift themselves above the rest. This article argues that vertical segregation is yet one more strategy employed by elites to force the abandonment of public space.
The emergence of a new pattern of spatial segregation is justified by two developments. The first one is fear of earthquakes, with the second one arising from urban insecurity in Istanbul. This pattern of urban governance diverges significantly from Istanbul’s historical experience, and rests upon new urban developments that have explicitly favoured the urban elites, both directly and indirectly. These raise critical questions about the nature of relations between social groups within the city.
Istanbul’s global financial market share continues to grow to the point where it has become addictive, hence great swathes of
the city are being rebuilt in the name of urbanization, rebuilding which is often justified on the grounds of ‘fear of earthquakes’ or ‘security fears’ thus circumventing normal democratic process. Even if the economy is not the main force in this redevelopment, its effect has been to erase much of Istanbul’s history, geography, culture and urban social relationships. Urbanization policies have been enacted without sufficient consultation with local residents; hence the state-citizen relationship must be re-shaped, with the state justifying its sovereignty. The current very one-sided power relationship has the effect of objectifying citizens. In a totally legal fashion, low income groups are being forced out of city centers into urban margins, leaving the centers free for exploitation by the city’s elite. Urbanization policies which have been implemented have not lived up to expectations, indeed, they could be said to have turned back the clock.
Mostly using qualitative data collection techniques and reviews, the literature on the issue of land occupation, migration, crime, urban area, regeneration and the relationship between urban space and crime in Istanbul is very extensive [1-5].
Urban regeneration is instrumentalized in the process of the poor, earthquake risks building stock and improving the conditions of disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Istanbul. The
role of hegemonic state institutions in the realization of urban
regeneration projects and centralisation of policy making power
has been increasing . Resulting in a growing pressure on
squatter housing areas and the historic urban centres populated
by the urban poor, there has been an increase in the importance of
urban areas that have high rent-gaining potential [7-9]. Examining
the relations between new economic policy, new urban policy and
urban development projects, Sakızoğlu  argues that urban
renewal plans shaped by the municipality do not include any social
mechanisms, measures and programs to prevent the displacement
of the low income groups.
These studies contribute to a great extent in our understanding
of urban polices in Istanbul. However, the relationship between
urban safety and urbanization in Istanbul has not yet been clarified
sufficiently. This is because the theoretical designs of these studies
are mostly the result of the influence of subjective perceptions
of the permanent and transient environment, which may vary
in its connection to objective reality. Other criticisms could be
attributed to the fact that most studies are qualitative; and they
do not give broad vision about crime, disorder, victimization and
sense of security in Istanbul as a whole. Relying only on the official
perspectives and figure must also be criticised. Because central and
local authorities aim is to distract the reality of crime and disorder
in order to create land values in Istanbul. In the official perspective,
street crime is seen as an outgrowth of neighbourhood conditions.
Some of these conditions are demographic, such as low levels of
income, home ownership and residential stability.
The studies cited above mainly refer to official crime records
and therefore their analysis and testing theories are limited and
based on only official figures. Because of reporting and recording
failures, official figures mislead the real extend of crime and
disorder and lack of sense of security. All crimes committed
are not recorded for different reasons and they are called “dark
figure”. Dark figure of crime is excluded in these studies and they
fail to question the problems behind the official perspectives on
crime and security issues in Istanbul. Mystifying street crime and
underemphasizing white colour crime and corruption; official
crime figures are also criticized on the grounds that they do not
represent the reality. It may be questioned that relying on only
official figures moves urban regeneration studies from reality to
A final criticism in these studies lies in overgeneralization.
Istanbul has unique neighbourhood environments in terms of
crime, disorder, sense of security, community attachment and
sense of belonging. Each area has specific problems in term of
crime and disorder. For example, in Beyoğlu or other districts
there are some areas where people from all social strata could
share the same geographical environment. In these areas, sociospatial
division is not as sharp as most studies above propose, and
they fail to emphasis this important social reality in Istanbul.
How can we analyse the growth of new urban policies and
strategies for urban transformation in the 2000s in Istanbul?
What are the main elements of the urban transformation agenda
and what are the political, social and economic motivations
behind the change in urban policy approach in relation to
urban transformation in the 2000s? What are the perspectives,
significance and legitimizations linked by the local authorities to
the issues of crime prevention and liability, which are among the
main objectives of the urban renewal programs?
In order to discuss the above questions, this study will
ground “defensible space” theory. The literature on spatial and
architectural influences on crime has concentrated primarily
on larger design aspects essentially building and street layout.
Jacobs  first proposed the idea that urban planning could help
renew community street life and thereby lower street crime. Many
different kinds of physical marks and environmental measures
have been linked to crime and deterrence . Newman 
expanded “defensible space” theory by suggesting that certain
designs features, like barricades to block access and split public
space into manageable zones, would strengthen a greater
protection interest in the community. This, consequently, would
lower crime and fear.
Defensible space is a system by which crime can be prevented
by developing the opportunities for locals to control and
defend their territory against crime, while together eradicating
environmental aspects that bring criminals. Newman’s theoretical
framework suggests that defensible space is stimulated over three
critical factors -territoriality, natural surveillance and image/
milieu – all of which really heavily on environmental arrangement
in order to function effectively as crime prevention tools. The
concept accommodates elements of a theory of crime as well
as a set urban design principles. Newman states that defensible
space is a model that can inhibit crime in residential environment.
These environments might be specific building, projects or entire
This article considers urbanization policies and practices in
Istanbul, utilizing data gathered within the ‘Istanbul Urban Safety
Project’ . Work on the project included the identification
of a range of models from the west in terms of urbanization
policy and practice, which would seem to be different from
those employed in Istanbul. The latter is apparently based on
addressing issues concerning the fabric of deprived areas of
Istanbul and regions where there is a high risk of earthquake,
together with security fears. However, once administrative
and political impacts are factored in, it would seem any aim of
benefiting the whole community from urbanization turns into
servicing the financial demands of an identifiable elite found in
the highest echelons of society. Furthermore, another important
problem is that community involvement in any urbanization
development proposal is undervalued or overlooked completely;
as if urbanization is a process which purely involves the physical refurbishment of buildings. It is actually a process which can tear
apart the social fabric and social relationships; a rent that may
result in the appearance of new socio-economic and socio-cultural
This article evaluates relationships between views on
security at neighbourhood level and across Istanbul in general,
based on responses to the survey questionnaire. At both levels, a
relationship was determined between the ability of buildings to
withstand earthquakes together with standards of cleanliness in
the neighbourhood, and the presence of derelict property, street
children and glue sniffers. Another important result showed
the relationship between criminalization, together with the
mystification of crime, and views on security. The effect of policies
on criminalization and the mystification of crime were shown to be
higher in the household survey than in its workplace equivalent.
Data presented in this article was collected by the International
Strategic Research Organization as part of the four year, 2008 -
2012, Istanbul Urban Safety Project. Quantitative and qualitative
methods were used in the study. Quantitative methods included
a large questionnaire survey administered to two samples:
households and workplaces; together with analysis of secondary
data. The qualitative dimension comprised semi-structured, openended
interviews with a number of senior officials involved in
urban safety in Istanbul. Almost 100 such interviews were carried
out with Istanbul MPs, neighbourhood leaders, representatives
of the Governor’s office, senior personnel in Istanbul’s citywide
and district education authorities, officials from the police
and judiciary, academics from Istanbul-based universities,
heads of primary and secondary schools, local residents and
representatives of the chambers of commerce and manufacture.
This stage was seen as the establishment of relationships between
a wide range of stakeholders in urban safety in Istanbul, together
with the facilitation of dialogue and coordination between public
and private organizations.
With regard to the questionnaire survey, the samples were
prepared using baseline data from the Turkish Statistical
Institute and it was planned to apply multi-level, stratified group
techniques. However, it transpired that this would necessitate
extremely large samples, the administration and management of
which would have been beyond the scope of the project, hence
the decision was taken to utilize probability sampling. Random
sampling was deemed inappropriate for a city the size of Istanbul
in which each district and neighbourhood may contain a wide
range of social and physical conditions. In the event, baseline
data led to a representative sample of 3140 households and 2000
Much time was devoted to questionnaire design prior to a pilot.
Each question was subjected to repeated, detailed examination
in the context of dependent, independent and control variables.
The questionnaire was piloted in the following European districts
of Istanbul: Bakırköy, Sarıyer, Beşiktaş; and on the Asian side of
the city in Üsküdar, Ümraniye and Kadıköy. The piloting involved
200 questionnaires administered to 100 households and 100
workplaces. Following the pilot, 3140 questionnaires were
distributed to households of which 2231 (71.1%) were returned
fully completed. The response rate for the 2000 workplace
questionnaires was even higher with 1811 (80.6%) being
returned fully completed. Questionnaire data was analysed with
On urban security, physical and social disorder, views from
questionnaire responses reveal significant results. The household
survey asked a question about the perceived effectiveness of
local planning regulations in the context of security. Respondents
were given a choice of responses and answered as follows: ‘very
effective’ was chosen by 14.1%; ‘effective’ by 39.8%; ‘ineffective’
by 40.7%; ‘very ineffective’ by 5.4%. Another question on the issue
of derelict property in the neighbourhood produced the responses:
‘a very serious problem’ chosen by 22%; ‘a serious problem’ by
39.6%; ‘not a problem’ by 29.1%; ‘not a serious problem’ by 9.3%.
Respondents to the questionnaire were also asked to rate
the severity of certain problems in the neighbourhoods in which
they lived. These problems included the issue of street children
which was seen to be ‘a very serious problem’ by 19.0%; ‘a serious
problem’ by 50.0%; ‘not a problem’ by 24.6%; ‘not a serious
problem’ by 6.4%. Crime in the area in which they resided was
perceived as ‘a very serious problem’ by 18.3%; ‘a serious problem’
by 49.6%; ‘not a problem’ by 25.4%; ‘not a serious problem’ by
6.7%. However, in response to the question ‘What do you think
about the problem of crime in Istanbul in general?’ it was seen
to be ‘a very serious problem’ by 65.1%; ‘a serious problem’ by
32.9%; ‘not a problem’ by 1.8%; ‘not a serious problem’ by 0.2%.
As can be clearly seen from these results, crime was seen to be
less of a problem at neighbourhood level than across the city as a
whole. This difference could arise from policies on criminalization
and the mystification of crime.
Another question was designed to measure the extent to which
respondents felt safe in their own neighbourhoods. Answers were:
‘I never feel safe’ chosen by 2.3%; ‘I sometimes feel safe’ by 27.7%;
‘I feel safe’ by 63.6%; ‘I feel very safe’ by 6.5%. It should be borne
in mind that such high levels of safety may well indicate that
buildings in the neighbourhood concerned are in good physical
condition and that strong social relationships are in existence.
19.4% of respondents thought the biggest security problem
for Istanbul as a whole was terrorist incidents, closely followed
by 17.8% who chose public order as being most important.
Close behind that group were the 17.3% for whom the most serious problem was glue sniffers and street children. Other
problems chosen were: traffic by 11.9%; migration by 11.5%;
mafia and gunfights by 10.8%; community incidents by 10%.
At neighbourhood level it would seem the difference between
perceptions of terrorism and those of glue sniffers and street
children can be reduced to a mere 2%.
For the householders, top of the list of issues which caused
them anxiety was security. Results showed 28.9% chose this
option. This was followed by the 25.1% who cited earthquake fear
as their biggest worry.
Workplace respondents to the questionnaire produced similar
results to the householders in answer to the question ‘What do
you think about the level of crime in Istanbul in general?’ Choices
from given responses were as follows: ‘it is a very serious problem’
was chosen by 62.5%; ‘it is a serious problem’ by 32.6%; ‘not a
problem’ by 4.5%; ‘not a serious problem’ by 0.4%.
Workplace respondents chose public order (20.7%) as the
largest security problem in Istanbul. This was followed by 17.6%
who chose traffic as the biggest problem and then terrorism
chosen by 17.5%; migration by 15.4%; mafia and gunfights by
11.9%; glue sniffers and street children by 10.1%; community
incidents by 5.8%. As can be seen, there are differences between
these results and those produced by the same question in the
survey of households. The latter gave terrorism, public order and
glue sniffers and street children as the top three security issues in
that order; whereas the workplace respondents opted for public
order, traffic and terrorism. It is also noticeable that the workplace
respondents viewed the issue of glue sniffers and street children
as less serious than did their household counterparts. In response
to what workplace participants saw, from their own experience, as
the biggest problems in the area in which they lived: 40.8% chose
security, followed by 26.6% with fear of earthquakes.
Workplace respondents were also asked to comment on the
problem of street vendors and responded as follows: ‘a very
serious problem’ chosen by 13.5%; ‘a serious problem’ by 39.3%;
‘not a problem’ by 40.4%; ‘not a serious problem’ by 6.8%. In
response to a similar enquiry regarding beggars: ‘a very serious
problem’ was chosen by 19.3%; ‘a serious problem’ by 40.6%; ‘not
a problem’ by 43.5%; ‘not a serious problem’ by 6.6%.
In terms of urbanization and urban security in Istanbul,
according to the results of qualitative research in this study,
people actually resident in Istanbul with its convenient lifestyle
and environmental conditions, do not themselves feel safe, which
would seem to be a huge issue for the police alone to handle. Rapid
urbanization combined with a wide range of social problems,
together with actually living amongst neglected, vacant or
abandoned buildings, are all factors contributing to the negativity
of views on security. Furthermore, weaknesses in street lighting,
police presence and city planning can be seen to have had an
impact on the community’s rising anxiety over security.
There is a need for approaches which include gathering the
views of individuals and the community on what they see as
threats to the physical and structural environment, classifying the
data thus gathered, carrying out risk analysis and designing on the
basis of all this, with security always in mind. As Newman 
proposed, it should be noted that environmental design has been
used as a successful preventative measure in many cities around
the world, a concept which needs debate as to its application in
The community dimension plays an important role in
urban security. Social and spatial segregation is an important
characteristic of cities. Urban planning regulations must take
into account social differences and structural differentiations.
These regulations, whilst initially drafted by the authorities, must
be presented to community groups and will show what form of
relationship exists between the two sides . Urban planning
must be carried out in accordance with recognized physical and
social characteristics, and urban social groupings should also be
Urbanization should be defined as finding sustainable
solution’s to a city’s economic, physical, social and environmental
issues along with resolving problems peculiar to that city, the
whole to be achieved in a context of integrated vision and action
In the fieldwork, experts emphasized the importance of
reducing the fear of earthquakes, and stressed that this could only
be achieved when that fear was publicly acknowledged to exist.
They also discussed the fact that TOKI’s (Toplu Konut Idaresi)
urban change programs are more often sited on publicly owned
land rather than land which has housed shanty towns. However,
in terms of earthquake risk, even private individuals building with
permission on their own land cannot remove that risk entirely.
The experts pointed out that urbanization has not been confined
to private land, it has also taken place on the sites of former shanty
towns, and there has even been significant construction on sites
deemed at serious risk of earthquake.
A multi-dimensional approach to urbanization is essential.
During field work for this study, we encountered the full gamut
of views on which elements comprise urban change, including
large numbers who mentioned the need for better architectural
standards; for all work involving residents to be based on good,
sound data; for better, higher quality education; that there be
more and better opportunities for economic activity; that feelings
of alienation be removed; public services become more effective;
the crime rate drops. As can be seen from the aforementioned
strategies, there are some positive aspects to safety in the
context of urbanization. However, large socio-economic change
such as wanting to return to a ‘pure environment’, or reduce crime and fear of crime, would just seem to lead to an increase
in security problems. In regions where regeneration projects
have been carried out, they have stated their aims to include:
improved architectural standards; evaluation of population in
the area; development leading to identification of weak points;
provision of appropriate leisure facilities and social activities
for local residents; creation of effective communication systems;
addressing weaknesses in public services such as schools and
hospitals; an increase in all forms of productivity.
Despite the fact that Turkey’s shanty towns could be seen as
high risk areas, if only in terms of physical structural safety, it has
to be said that they are not the cause of any major anxiety. Within
this study, meetings were held with academics that had carried
out field work in shanty towns in the 1990s, without exception
they painted a picture of neighbourhoods in which security had a
strictly limited importance. One important result of our research is
that public authorities and the academic community must accept
that Turkey’s shanty towns are very different to their equivalent
ghettoes in the west, and this difference should be considered as
part of any regeneration process.
As it was explained above ‘defensible space’ proposes that
people need to feel a sense of ownership towards the space they
occupy, and this can be nurtured through practical awareness
raising . Interestingly, residents in shanty towns display exactly
this sense of ownership. It should be borne in mind that work has
shown the necessity for consideration of regional characteristics
and the ability to see things from the perspective of local residents.
Despite the presence of so many risk factors, security problems did
not emanate from the shanty towns, whereas overlooking social,
cultural and economic issues inherent in any urban change project
will lead to serious security problems. Academics with whom we
met during the fieldwork emphasized the fact that moving people
from a rundown district to a better area is hardly ever part of the
solution to the problem. All urban change projects in general,
and those involving rehousing in particular, must not just focus
on physical refurbishment but must also aim to improve social,
economic, demographic and cultural structures at the same time.
People living in a city should not feel themselves far removed
from its life and culture, simply using the city as a place to live.
One of the most important and necessary processes within social
integration is that of city-dwellers finding common ground in
shared values, opinions and activities. At the same time, it has to
be agreed that relationships even with like-minded people, and
certainly with extended family members and neighbours, can wax
and wane and this has also to be accommodated within the fabric
of any district. Indeed, for an individual to spend his/her entire life
surrounded by like-minded people may not be such a good idea.
Data gathered from our field work showed that cities with an
understanding of compatriotism do not undervalue its importance
in the context of both social control and mutual support; it may also
be an indicator of other issues. Academics who have an interest in
this subject, all stated that whilst shanty towns may seem places of
high risk with poor structural standards, it is clear that such areas
are actually low risk in terms of security due to the strong sense of
mutual support and other forms of social control. However, there
can be negative aspects to basing your entire social life in the city
on relationships with compatriots; city dwellers must identify
with the city in which they live. For this change to take place
requires highly detailed research followed by the implementation
of appropriate strategies. Experts in the field believe this issue has
not been treated seriously and will lead to significant increases in
the crime rate over the years ahead. There has also been work to
show that crime rates rise significantly in areas in which people
are temporarily rehoused, whilst awaiting demolition and rebuild
of their original homes.
Academics who have carried out research on this subject
have stated that not enough attention is paid to the aftermath
of an urban change initiative, when it could take up to ten
years for people rehoused to establish relationships in their
neighbourhood. People who move to a new neighbourhood within
an urban change project leave behind the neighbours they may
have known for years, and find themselves living in an apartment
building surrounded by strangers with whom they must work out
a way to live in harmony. Close links with neighbours which have
lasted for years are all too often overlooked within urban change
projects, and there are also inherent threats to be considered
when people suddenly find themselves living in totally unfamiliar
surroundings. Indeed, this situation is one of the sources of many
problems within city life, a list headed by crime.
In terms of the effect of the physical fabric on security, experts
involved in this study emphasised the fact that the physical
condition of buildings has an effect on security and security
fears, and they propose that urban change projects should pay
greater attention to environmental design for security, and
should involve people throughout the neighbourhood in design
development. They also stressed the importance of design which
gave opportunities for people to see and get to know one another.
It would seem clear that individuals living in the same huge
apartment buildings, where other residents remain strangers, feel
themselves and their families to be unsafe. Furthermore, experts
also mention the fact that in such circumstances people knowing
each other is one element in crime prevention. Regeneration
projects have been carried out which have resulted in apartment
complexes with 300-400 people in each building, a total of 2000
or more in one complex, all forced to share many aspects of their
lives. It should be borne in mind that such projects result in innate
risks far higher than those present in shanty towns, where there
are usually strong neighbour relationships.
This study greatly expands what is known about urbanization,
urban regeneration, crime and urban policies in Istanbul. One of the significant of this study is that “household” and “work place”
surveys were carried out separately in order to see the differences
between responses from these different two categories. In terms
of crime concern and sense of security, studies have not yet been
clarified the differences between respondents from households
and workplaces. Employing qualitative and quantitative methods,
this study examines resident perceptions of territorial functioning
and physical incivilities.
This study presents a more comprehensive and integrated
framework for understanding specific features in urban security,
physical and social disorder and urbanization. Thus, the theoretical
framework is organized around two dimensions: 1-Neigbourhood
level; 2. Istanbul as a whole. This classification shows the effects
of the policies on criminalization and the mystification of crime,
and it was found that crime was seen to be less of a problem at
neighbourhood level than across Istanbul as a whole. Showing the
difference between real problems and imaginary concerns about
crime in Istanbul, this is one of the significant results of this study.
This study is unique among others carried out in Istanbul and
contributes to the existing literature by offering a new sociological
With a population of 15 million, Istanbul, Turkey’s economic,
cultural, and historical heart and its largest city experienced a
dramatic economic, socio-political restructuring in the post-
1980’s with the neoliberal policies put in effect. The prospect of
maximizing land prices and rentals became a considerable element
reshaping the attitude of municipalities, construction firms and
development agencies . A Highly irregular, piecemeal, and
speculative transformation of Istanbul has resulted in heightened
social-spatial differentiations and fragmentation resulting from
the changing economic, demographic and employment structures
in the city. In the absence of the strategic plans and programs;
the marked dynamics, ad hoc solutions of different actors, urban
coalitions, informalities, political balances between different
government layers have been shaping urban policies (Turel et al.
2006) . Investing on urban land is regarded more beneficial
than investing on industrial production and urban renewal
proposals are justified mainly by fear of crime, disorder and
crime prevention. Turkun  points out that people living in
squatter housing areas were regarded “invaders”. These areas
were said to be the main cause of rising urban crime and political
extremism. A new political elite consensus proposes that the
immigrant squatter areas as well as the older ex-industrial areas
inhabited by the urban poor urgently needed re-development. As
a result, centralised urban policies and practices pave the way for
excluding certain groups, mobilising the deprived groups and also
putting pressure on the intellectuals and people with alternative
political views. The criticisms of these parties are also regarded as
oppositions to the overall project of economic development and as
threats to their political power .
Contemporary urban governance is more than “the growing
power of capital and the increasing inadequacy of liberaldemocratic
political structures as a means to check that power”
(Purcell 2002) . The state is the main actor, shaping the
whole operation, trying to find ways to contain resistance or
mobilisations against its urban agenda, using the urban property
market as a machine for growth .
We have witnessed Istanbul, at the hands of the government,
being reshaped and reorganized, with social values that have
evolved over many years being removed and replaced with a new
order. A whole new system of capital and production labour has
been established. Whether the pretext is fear of earthquakes,
criminalization or the need to deal with areas of deprivation, it
would seem to lead to two basic conclusions. Firstly, urbanization
policies are not matters for debate, being purely designed to
ensure high rates of income; secondly, whole new templates for
authority-order have been constructed (Tan 2013; İngin & İslam
It would seem that the administration in Istanbul classifies
residential areas as ‘at risk’ without apparent consultation, and
thus opens them up for regeneration and the attendant financial
speculation. Financial gain from such urban change does not
accrue to the residents, but rather to those who could be said
to be already economically advantaged. Indeed, urban change
programs are not carried out for the benefit of residents of the
area concerned, instead the construction of luxury apartments,
business districts, offices, hotels and shopping malls only benefits
the already wealthy capital investors. The majority of urbanization
projects force residents into a kind of limbo, in which they transfer
their property ownership to capital investors cheaply and then
have to move away. Istanbul heads the list of places in Turkey
where decision makers claim to be working to create safer, more
sustainable places to live, and where identifying exactly who is
benefitting financially is practically impossible. It would seem
that urbanization is trying to solve all the economic, social and
environmental problems inherent in sustainable urban living at
the same time and by pitting one against another .
The discussions above show that there is a relationship
between city planning and political power . According
to Lefebvre the government and other powerful elites bring
themselves into existence through space. To be able to attain and
continue to hold sovereign powers the government, or leading
elites, continually intervene spatially. To ensure the continuity of
existing capitalist relationships of exploitation and domination, it
is imperative that planning results in people of different classes
and different ethnic identities becoming alienated from one
another. Peoples’ everyday experiences take place in a given space
and when people are forced apart, they differentiate and become
strangers to each other .
In Istanbul the government has implemented policies
leading to decomposition and differentiation. In terms of urban
decomposition, consider gated communities and shanty towns.
Today this could not only be seen as spatial segregation, but could also qualify as a government management technique. When
people find themselves experiencing or witnessing armed conflict
in shared spaces, and capitalist exploitative relationships can
continue, there must be planning. In Istanbul spatial segregation
would seem to be very deep-rooted and there is a need to increase
the number of shared spaces in which people of different social
classes, ethnic and gender identities can meet and interact [23-
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