Project: On unstable ground

 

The images in this series show various neighbourhoods in Istanbul that are soon to be razed to make way for the building of luxury villas and apartments. The people of these communities have no idea when they will be evicted, but they know it will happen soon.  Despite this certainty, life goes on as normal.

Background information:

In Istanbul, urban regeneration schemes are forcing millions of inhabitants out of their historic communities.  Little or nothing is being done to adequately rehouse these people.  They are either left to fend for themselves or they are rehoused in high-rise buildings thirty to forty kilometers outside Istanbul.

They are losing their homes, their communities, their support networks, their livelihoods, their basic infrastructure and they’re at risk of losing their identity and culture.  In financial terms, they’re not recompensed adequately and most cannot make ends meet after their eviction.

Although the work is usually presented as “renovation”, it’s actually gentrification and the members of the community who lived there originally will not be able to afford to stay in the area.  The homes are almost always demolished to make way for new buildings.  Important historical districts are being razed.

Seismic activity in the area is usually cited as the government’s reason for these works, yet these communities will most likely be moved to the poor quality, concrete-frame, high-rise apartment-blocks that have been quickly built by the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ) for this purpose.  The homes the people are forced to leave, were built hundreds of years ago – often by the current occupants’ ancestors.  These homes withstood the massive 1999 Izmit earthquake.