Tracing Super-gentrification in Karaköy, Istanbul

Creative Commons License

Aydın E., Çiçek C., Enlil Z. Ş.

2022 AESOP Annual Congress, Tartu, Estonia, 25 - 29 July 2022

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Unpublished
  • City: Tartu
  • Country: Estonia
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Lees uses super-gentrification to describe the finance-led transformation in global cities. Capital-led gentrification processes started in Beyoğlu in 2000 and state-led in 2005. In 2005, the top-down Galataport cruise port project on the shores of the Bosphorus in Beyoğlu came to the agenda. Commercial gentrification was taking place in Karaköy during the construction of Galataport The boutique bars, hamburger shops, and third-wave coffee shops opened in this process are the representations of the commercial gentrification process. Galataport, which has been opened in 2021 as a part of the ‘Beyoğlu Cultural Road’ project with chain stores inside, poses a threat to these niche trade units. We aimed to examine the transformation in the Galata-Karaköy region from a supply-side perspective and outline a foresight. We claim that Galataport, beyond regentrification, is the milestone of the super-gentrification process in Galata-Karaköy. The study consists of three stages in which primary and secondary data are used with qualitative methods. Meetings with academics and institution representatives before the project, interviews with locals during the project, and mixed interviews at the end of the project were used respectively. The discourses before the project emphasized that Galataport would prevent public access to the coastline and leave heritage sites behind. While the local owners and shopkeepers in the Galata-Karaköy region thought that Galataport would contribute economically to them during the construction process, the minority formed by NGOs approached this project skeptically and associated it with their former experiences related to global capital. Local tradesmen deepened the decline process that they had already entered due to the restrictions experienced during the Covid-19 Pandemic, with the opening of Galataport. We expect structural adjustments such as the luxury housing tax, increased property tax rates, and tourism incentives, as well as interventions such as the restoration of heritage sites to create a domino effect. It gains great academic importance as it is one of the rare studies to examine the transformation of the Galata-Karaköy region on the axis of gentrification. Although planning is the art of foresight, this study raises the question of whether our art is better executed by others.