Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Istanbul and the Grassroots - Open Lecture

text from

By Johanna Svensson 

Martin Schwegmann, Architect and Urban Designer from Humboldt University, Berlin will hold an open lecture with the title "Istanbul and the Grassroots – Civil Society Organizations, Local Politics and Urban Transformation" at Malmö University next Friday.

What is your lecture about? - The lecture will be about new and newly organized civil society actors in Istanbul reacting towards current trends in urban development. Istanbul is undergoing, like many other big cities in Turkey, a major paradigm shift towards a neoliberal urban agenda since the early 2000s. Rightful and de facto owners are getting expropriated, resettled and their houses demolished because of new sources of capital are trying to find ways into the often ambiguous land market in Istanbul. In this climate local and national active civil society groups emerge and struggle to find a common voice against the unjust developments.

Who should listen to the lecture in your opinion? - Everybody who is interested in examples of neoliberal urbanization patterns and civil society mobilization. It is probably not possible to “learn” something directly for Malmoe or northern Europe. Much more the lecture will give an idea of the urban background/experience of some migrant populations and also demystify informal urban development/Gecekondu to a certain extend.

Picture by Martin Schwegmann, taken on the Asian side of the Bosphorus in Istanbul in the district of Maltepe, from the neighborhood of Basibüyük towards Gülsuyu/Gülensu showing characteristic phases of urban development in Istanbul. 

You have founded a network called "Urban passion", what is it and why did you start it? -I founded Urban passion in order to find a way to frame my activities in the realm of urbanism together with friends and partners. I see Urban passion as a way of connecting the often diverse activities connected to the city. At the same time Urban passion is a platform and an open network for short termed and non bureaucratic cooperation. Urban passion also is a source of inspiration and discussion for my personal practice.

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