About the workshop

 

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…).

 

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.
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