I love my half-underground apartment in Çeliktepe, but I have to admit, if I could live in any neighborhood in Istanbul I would live in Tarlabaşı, the ghetto where I attend a Turkish church. Historically it was a wealthy Armenian and Greek neighborhood, but as Orthodox Christian minorities were forced to leave Turkey during the early Republic era it became a ghetto largely inhabited by Kurds and Roma people. It’s also a haven for transvestites, sex workers, and other people employed in more dubious professions. In short, it makes me homesick for Louisville’s Shelby Park neighborhood.
Today I stumbled upon this video of David Smith of the Affordable Housing Institute talking about the gentrification of Tarlabaşı that is happening now. I was surprised to hear how well informed he is and how he also has a very integrated vision for the future of the community. I hope the Turkish Housing Authority (TOKİ) listens to his advice.
HT: Pax Urbanus