How Utopia Became a Real Estate Leaflet ?

As Edward Said (1994, p. 6) once said, “none of us is completely free from the struggle over geography”, including financial capital. Said (1994, p. 6) continues, this struggle “is not only about soldiers and cannons but also about ideas, about forms, about images and imaginings”. Discursive formation of real-estate futures has long been part of this struggle. From London to Istanbul, various everyday life images and spatial representations are replicated in promotional materials of real-estate projects such as in advertisements, catalogues and billboards. These all together form a discourse of the ideal everyday life that people dream of. This paper focuses on the case of branded housing projects which are developed as a version of housing enclaves in Istanbul following the deepening of neoliberal urbanisation in Turkey. It discusses the role of the representations and images in the project catalogues and advertisements in imagining of future everyday life from a Lefebvrian-Gramscian perspective. The paper presents a comprehensive critical discourse analysis and challenges the idealisation (and normalisation) of everyday life practices offered in these hyper-controlled, under surveillance and commodified urban spaces. It concludes that the struggle of hegemonic and counter-hegemonic discourse over everyday life is a key for reclaiming utopia, therefore, future imaginings.

The talk was given in scope of the Planetary Futures Conference: Imagining the Future – Financial Capitalism and the Social Imagination @ Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL, London, 11 July 2017

For the programme of the conference and the abstracts click here.

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Image Credit: Robert Almonte

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Doing Architectural Research Socio-political Perspectives on Theories, Methodologies and Praxis

Since the 1970s, cities have become core areas for neoliberal restructuring strategies, policies and processes (Peck et al., 2009). Brenner et al. (2010) stress that different neoliberalization practices share the ambition “to intensify commodification in all realms of social life” (Aalbers 2013, 1054). In addition, prominent critical scholars including Lefebvre, Harvey and Castells agree upon the fact that “capitalist cities are not only arenas in which commodification occurs; they are themselves intensively commodified” (Brenner et al., 2009, 178).

The talk methodologically asked the question:

How can we investigate this multi-layered phenomenon which includes dynamics of production and commodification of space as well as everyday life ?

The talk was given in scope of The Centre for Urban Conflicts Research Workshop exploring and questioning what constitutes architectural research, specifically research from socio-political perspectives.

Commodifying Urban Space: The Clash of Promises and Everyday Life

Cities have been experiencing neoliberal urbanisation processes since the 1970s globally and with a greater pace since the early 2000s. As part of these, housing enclaves –segregated and under-controlled living areas- have been expanding with different versions across the countries. Via this practice, the commodification of urban space has been deepening while also transforming the everyday life of the citizens. The talk focuses on the case of branded housing projects in Istanbul, Turkey as a particular version of housing enclaves and discusses their recent emergence in this locality regarding the projects’ development processes, discursive formation and spatial practices.

The talk was given as part of Open Talk Series of the Space+Place+Society Research Network at Heriot-Watt University (3 May 2017).

The Promised Lands, Media and the Production of Urban Space: The Case of Branded Housing Projects

The talk argues that the mass media, as part of civil society, plays a crucial role in the production of social consent for the ways of production of urban space, and investigates this role by focusing on the media content about branded housing projects.

It is taken place in the scope of Tuesday Talks @ Department of City and Regional Planning, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey.

 

 

Illiberal Production of Urban Space: The Case of Branded Housing Projects in Istanbul

The talk questions the relationship of branded housing projects as an emerging type of urban development and the develeping illiberal mode of production of space in Turkey since early 2000s.

It is taken place in scope of The First European Symposium on Turkey-Symposium on Populism, Majoritarianism and Crises of Liberal Democracy, The Consortium of European Symposia on Turkey, Graz, Austria (October 1-3). For the symposium program click here.

CEST Symposium Report

Commodifying the Utopia: The Case of Branded Housing Projects, Istanbul, Turkey

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The talk discusses emerging phenomenon of branded housing projects in Istanbul in relation with the commodification of urban space under neoliberal urbanization which has been intensified since early 2000s in Turkey.

It is taken place in scope of The Ideal City: Between Myth and Reality-Representations, Policies, Contradictions and Challenges for Tomorrow’s Urban Life, The Annual RC21 Conference, Urbino, Italy (August 27-29)

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Daily Life in a ‘Branded Housing Project’: Control, Mediation And Commodification

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The talk brings up the daily life in branded housing projects up into discussion and questions its relationship with contol, mediation and commodification of urban space.

It is taken place in scope of The Power of Places and the Places of Power-Annual Conference of AESOP Urban Cultures and Public Spaces Group, Glasgow, UK (June 4-6)

 

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