Drivers of socio-spatial change in Istanbul: Historical and longitudinal analysis of 5 cases from Bakırköy


  • Sevgiye Sönmez Özdemir image/svg+xml Istanbul Technical University

    Sevgiye Sönmez Özdemir was born in 1986 at Shumen, Bulgaria. She is graduated from Yıldız Technical University Department of Urban and Regional Planning in 2009, and obtained M.Sc degree in 2011 at Regionalwisssenschaft/Raumplanung program Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) Germany. Her master  thesis entitled ‘Fragmentierungsprozesse, soziale und raumliche Segregation, am Beispiel der gated communities in Kandilli, İstanbul’.  She is at doctorate thesis stage in Istanbul Technical University Graduate School, City and Regional Planning Program. Since 2013 she is working at Planning and Design Department of İstanbul Bağcılar Municipality, currently working as a chief at the Planning and Design Directory.

  • Gülden Erkut image/svg+xml Istanbul Technical University

    Gülden Erkut is Professor of Regional Planning (ITU). Her research interests and publications include strategic spatial planning, regional and local development, social policy and urban sociology. She contributed to the international/interdisciplinary ‘Urban Management’ Master program, TU Berlin as a DAAD Guest Professor (2012-2013). She was a member of the Policy Unit 7 on ‘Urban Economic Development Strategies’ for UN Habitat III (2016). Among her publications are the book chapter titled  'Spatial and Strategic Planning in Turkey: Institutional Change and New Challenges' written with E. Sezgin published in Spatial Planning Systems and Practices in Europe, Routledge, 2014; the book titled Dimensions of Urban Re-development: The Case of Beyoğlu Istanbul edited with M.R. Shirazi TU Berlin January 2014   and the book titled The Black Sea Region: Past, Present and Future, edited with S. Mitchell published at  British Insitute of Archaeology at Ankara, Oxbow, Britain, 2007.



land use change, periodic features, social differentiation from past to present Bakırköy, temporal-spatial characteristics


This article aims to reveal the social and spatial change in Bakırköy through time and to identify the drivers behind this transformation. Bakırköy has been chosen as it hosted the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires, leading to its multicultural and layered structure. It has been influenced by the dominant features of each era, shaping socio-economic changes, spatial transformations, and urban planning practices over the historical process. The interaction of these socio-spatial elements within Bakırköy encompasses broad themes such as social differentiation, economic change, and urban governance, thereby presenting case studies to examine the dynamics of urban areas in Istanbul. The research has been conducted at two levels. First, spatial changes were examined through relevant documents, literature, and historical maps. The periods were determined as the state-led development period (1923-1950), liberalization period (1950-1980), neoliberal transformation period (1980-2000), and globalization period (post-2000), with the pre-1923 period being considered separately. Subsequently, five case studies were selected to represent different functional land use at the local level. The first case study involves an area known as the İskender Çelebi Farm in the 17th century, which was chosen to represent the transformation from a food production area to industrial production in the 18th century and has become a mass housing area in the 20th century, now known as the Ataköy districts. The second and third case studies represent the transformation from industrial production areas in the 19th and early 20th centuries to residential, tourism, and shopping areas. The fourth case study focuses on the coastal strip, which was used as a public space for ‘sea baths’ in the 19th century and today exists as luxury housing projects under private ownership. The fifth case study involves an area that served as an airport in the early 20th century and is currently planned for a hospital and green spaces, although it remains a public service.Through these cases, which demonstrate the shift from the productional use of space to consumption, the study seeks to answer the following questions: First, how do demographic and economic changes play a significant role in the differentiation of urban space, and in a related context, what is the local-scale impact of changing policies on the functional change of the selected cases? The findings reveal that industrial investments, supported by transportation investments, choose their locations in the changing/transforming economic order. The decentralization of industry and the privatization or transformation of public investments into consumption-focused urban areas through public-private partnerships have also been observed. The study aims to prove that this change in space lays the groundwork for social differentiation.


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How to Cite

Sönmez Özdemir, S., & Erkut, G. (2024). Drivers of socio-spatial change in Istanbul: Historical and longitudinal analysis of 5 cases from Bakırköy. Journal of Design for Resilience in Architecture and Planning, 5(1), 96–122.



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