Thursday, May 21, 2009

On "Emerging Spaces of Neoliberalism" in Istanbul

I found this research more compelling than Asu Aksoy's essay on Istanbul's choice between increasing globalization and developing new politics of openness. While both argue generally the same line, I thought the direct research of the two poles of Istanbul to be a more effective way of communicating the phenomenon.

The polarizing of the city seems to be a tradition that accompanies all major globalizing attempts in cities around the world. In suburbs, especially in the United States, communities are increasingly isolated while in project housing the lower classes are segregated from the rest of the city, their movements restrict to utility.

The most disturbing part of the article was reading the descriptions of the city from the perspective of the residents of Gokturk. Their opinions not only separate themselves from the city, but seem to even vilify the city as a whole to the point that almost anything associated with the city outside of the Kanyon mall or the business districts is somehow a nightmare. It is interesting that social elites tend to hold this perspective in any city where they are isolated from the hustle and bustle of daily inner city life. Additionally, it seems as if Istanbul is behind the times in going through this social segregation. Many of these housing project techniques have been tried before and failed to get rid of crime and other aspects of temporary settlements that cities claim to purge, yet Istanbul persists.

Nonetheless, I feel as if the names in both of these articles could be changed to any major US city and the dates changed to 30-60 years ago and they would be just as true.

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