General Issues
Human Rights & Civil Rights
Specific Topics
Public Safety
Public Safety
Kadife and Ihsan Unluer Streets
Scope of Influence
Start Date
End Date
Targeted Demographics
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Public Report
Public Hearings/Meetings


Participatory Urban Planning Workshops for Kadife Street in Kadikoy, Istanbul

February 2, 2019 Jaskiran Gakhal, Participedia Team
November 16, 2018 Jaskiran Gakhal, Participedia Team
March 23, 2017 Kadikoy Akademi
April 1, 2016 Kadikoy Akademi
General Issues
Human Rights & Civil Rights
Specific Topics
Public Safety
Public Safety
Kadife and Ihsan Unluer Streets
Scope of Influence
Start Date
End Date
Targeted Demographics
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Public Report
Public Hearings/Meetings

Given social issues arising from the Kadife neighbourhood in Kadıköy, Turkey flourishing over its capacity, property and bar owners, social workers, local officials and residents came together in a series of meetings and workshops on urban space, successfully reaching a solution.

Problems and Purpose

As a result of the attempts to give shape to areas of socialization, on the one hand, some of the streets and districts of Turkey become desolate whereas on the other hand, some of them flourish over their capacity. For example, in the Moda neighborhood of the Kadıköy district, which is located on the Asian Side of Istanbul, the cafes and bars that are located in residential areas are expanding towards the streets and the streets are thus becoming more crowded [2]. People continue consuming alcohol in the nighttime after the closing hours of bars and cafes; the residents of these streets were disturbed, creating conflicts over the use of urban space. Under these circumstances, the residents are applying to Kadıköy Municipality for the resolution of this problem. The confusion over functions, which is simply the consequence of the fact that areas of living were created without any long-term planning and calculation of density, could therefore be solved only through bringing together all related parties and making these parties put forth their principles of living in that space. Likewise, talks were initiated with this purpose.

In the settlement of conflicts among the parties, Kadıköy Municipality has preferred to follow a path based on dialogue and consensus as well as processes of reaching common grounds, rather than adopting an approach based on security and banning, which had been the usual method. A process was initiated and the tenants and property owners and bar owners in Kadife and İhsan Ünlüer streets, the head of the related neighborhood (called “muhtar”), social workers, the management of the municipality and people habituating Kadife and İhsan Ünlüer streets were brought together. The anticipated result of the meeting was to provide a solution which would on the one hand prevent desolation in the streets (as previously seen in Beyoğlu) and on the other hand provide a peaceful environment for the residents at night time. As an outcome of this process, by mutually agreed resolutions and their implementation, the problems were solved to an extent. The way the problem was solved is explained by each segment as the action they had suggested, which indicates that each segment brought about a realistic contribution towards the resolution of the problem.

Throughout the decision making process which lasted from May to September 2014, in the neighborhood and at Tasarım Atölyesi Kadıköy (Kadıköy Design Workshop – “TAK”) a series of meetings and workshops were organized and the parties got to know each other and developed empathy [2]. In these workshops, the officials from the municipality and designers listened to all parties of the aforementioned problem, reported their statements and developed projects for the resolution of problems. The entire process was monitored by volunteering social workers. As a result of these talks, which were initiated immediately after the local elections of March 30, 2014, the workshop that involved all parties was held on May 30 and a second gathering was organized on June 9; the solution offers developed throughout the process were presented and shared during the meeting involving the presence of municipality officials and neighborhood dwellers. 

Background History and Context 

In Turkey, the dominance of the central government over local governments has become more visible after people took interest towards local matters and started seeking for their right to have a say on their living environments. Physical intervention upon people’s living environment, urban transformation projects, construction on green areas and mega projects can be deemed as what has “become more visible” whereas the interventions on social life cannot be quickly noticeable and the intervention by the local governments especially into such major changes is getting harder.

Today, urban grassroots movements in Turkey revolve around the axis of preserving nature, cultural values and public spaces against physical interventions. However, the social problems in cities and the implicit impacts of the government on social life and the problems arising due to deficiencies in planning cannot be overcome before experiencing conflicts. Depending on the urbanization processes in Istanbul, the city of Kadıköy is structured as a new center within the metropolitan area. One of the central functions of a metropolitan area, the entertainment sector, increased its popularity also in Kadıköy. The problems in the other entertainment sector areas arising from political polarization are transforming Kadıköy into an attraction in terms of social liberties.

Known as “the street of bars” in Kadıköy, Kadife Street and its vicinity became a place with urban and social problems. In Kadıköy, which is easy to access from all parts of Istanbul metropolitan area with public transportation, the street of bars began to expand rapidly towards residential areas. Until recently, bars and cafes were condensed around Kadife Street and its vicinity whereas today, they are spread across Hacı Şükrü, Halisefendi, Dr. İhsan Ünlüer streets towards a wider area. Following this period of expansion, various commercial functions (such as drapery shops, grocery stores, butcher’s shops) had to abandon the area. Additionally, conflicts between the residents and bar and café users began to emerge, concerning the use of urban space [2].

The root cause for the problems in Kadife Street and its surrounding area is that the people from varying profiles that make use of the same urban space cannot keep in concord. This inability to make use of the same urban space cannot be regarded as coming together in the same urban space; among the people using this urban space, some consider the area as an area of trade, some as an area of residence and some as an area of socialization. Thus, a clear distinction of public space and private space would be impossible to make.

At this point, we observe that since 1997, the residents in this street are mainly objecting to the standardization in the space and the dominance of only one function. In Moda, one of the oldest settlements of Kadıköy, many of the houses are not rented and home owners have been living in their current houses for fifty years on average. The houses are also inherited, so the residents have a sense of belonging to Moda. However, the residents note that after the opening of bars, their living standards decreased, the user profile of the street changed and the noise of those who consume alcohol on the street is disturbing to them [2]. The settlement plan of the street is cage-shaped and almost all of the buildings that are attached to one another have bedrooms facing backyards. The venues, after receiving licenses to serve alcohol are also given the right to use the backyards and thus all hoWuses facing the same yard are exposed to the noises coming from these backyards, which then functioned as open spaces of the bars. The dwellers of the neighborhood laid claim to their streets and defended their areas of living and this coincided with the increasing oppression by the central government against the use of alcohol; the dispute over the streets of Moda was a local problem but became a nation-wide problem in Turkey. The disputes in this particular area set the grounds for the government decree to ban the sale of alcohol after 10 pm all around the country and the debate over public consumption of alcohol resonated nation-wide. Consequently, the problem was taken over by the new mayor, Aykurt Nuhoğlu after reaching a dimension, upon which people said: “you will not need to solve any other problem when you solve this one”.

About Kadıköy Municipality

Kadıköy is an administrative district on the Asian Side of Istanbul. Located on the southwest of Asian Side, Kadıköy is surrounded by Üsküdar on the north, Ataşehir on the northeast and Maltepe administrative districts on the east and Marmara Sea on the west and south [3].

In the Late Ottoman period, Kadıköy Municipality was defined under the names of “11th District” and “18th District” municipalities and its first mayor was Osman Hamdi Bey. In the republican period, Kadıköy was declared as an administrative district on March 23, 1930 and later on, organized as a municipal district bound to the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality in 1984.

Consisting of 21 neighborhoods, Kadıköy has 25 km2 land area and 21.812 people per km2 [3]. The population of Kadıköy is 482.571, according to the 2014 data of TurkStat.

Mr. Aykurt Nuhoğlu (Republican People’s Party) was elected as the Mayor of Kadıköy in the local elections, which were held on March 30, 2014 [3].

Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities 

Kadıköy Municipality and Tasarım Atölyesi Kadıköy (Kadıköy Design workshop, “TAK”) organized “The Workshop on Kadife Street and Vicinity”, which involved the related parties, with the aim of developing a guidance for designing and the rules for the use of these streets.

Participant Recruitment and Selection

The residents of the apartment blocks, owners of bars and cafes, people habituating the street (visitors), Caferağa Neighborhood Head (“Muhtar”), higher ranking officials of Kadıköy Municipality, designers and sociologists were in the target group. 

Methods and Tools Used

This initiative seems to be a case of collaborative planning whereby affected stakeholders take responsibility for shared decision-making, in this case, regarding the use of urban space. To achieve their objectives, the case used the tool of scenario workshops, where participants, including policymakers and affected citizens or community members, engage in deliberative discussion to create an agreed-upon action plan for addressing the issues they are facing. [1] In this way, local communities can directly participate in finding solutions to local problems. The workshop tool in this case allowed greater mutual understanding among the participants.

What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation

May 16, 2014 – Consciousness Raising Meeting

The workshops were planned and the participants were determined in light of the interviews and observations in Kadife Street and its vicinity. Prior to the first meeting, the designers were inquired about the process and the roles that could be taken up by the designers were throughout the generation of common solutions were discussed.

May 30, 2014- A Meeting with the Groups

The officials from the municipality, designers and sociologists attended this workshop of two hours as listeners. The dwellers of Kadife Street and its surrounding area, the people who consume alcohol and socialize on the street, the owners of businesses, the head of the neighborhood and the Council of Moda also participated in this workshop. These people, who use the same urban space, came together for the first time at a different place and discussed their problems with each other and a solution group was formed. The workshop was designated in two phases. Firstly, the problem was determined and secondly, solutions were offered.

The initial atmosphere of the debate was tense and all parties at first seemed hopeless about a solution to the existing problems. Additionally, they had been regarding each other not as the addressees but as the causes of the problems they were facing; many were also of the opinion that a common solution could not be provided and that the problem would be solved only on the condition that one of the groups left the area. The dwellers of the district demanded the discharging of bars and were in the opinion that bars caused the emerging of an attraction on the district and encouraged people to consume alcohol outdoors especially after smoking was banned indoors and the tables that were placed on the street transformed the street into an “outdoors bar”. The dwellers of the neighborhood were asking: “This place was officially a heavily residential area and why were licenses given for 22 bars and 3 liquor stores? The street is already over its capacity.” The residents did not want their street to be called “the street of bars”. They also expressed that prior to the opening of bars, they were already residing there and despite their strong feeling of attachment to their neighborhood, they were feeling unwanted in their own living area; they were also openly told to move their houses to some other place and they might be forced to leave if it continues like that since their houses were losing their value. Those who come to the streets to consume alcohol were saying that these are happening because of the state ban on alcohol and those who cannot drink in their neighborhood are coming here to drink outdoors. In response, the residents said that they have no problem with consumption of alcohol but their standard of living decreased and they could not sleep; they complained of having iron bars installed on their windows for security because sometimes people were throwing bottles up to the 4th floor or that when they woke up in the morning and left their apartments, there were people sleeping on the street.

The bar owners, who were the targets of the neighborhood residents, said that they were also victimized because of what had happened and the problems of this street should be solved by common sense and not like what happened in the Galata area of Istanbul, which had desolated the area. They indicated that they were ready to collaborate. (Similar things were experienced in Beyoğlu, another district of Istanbul, and the problem tried to be solved through banning). The business owners said that the residents were adopting a marginalizing behavior towards business owners, complaining as “they are not treating us like human beings just because we are bar owners”. They were saying that they would also prefer people drinking inside the bars as that would be more profitable for them; because of the heavy taxation over alcohol, the prices are high and thus drinking outdoors became more economical for the people. The business owners said that placing tables on the street is important both because it is profitable for them and because it makes the street safer and more peaceful.

People socializing on the street are coming from different areas of Istanbul especially on Fridays and Saturdays and express that they feel better in Kadıköy. A young person says: “I feel that I’m not valuable in my neighborhood as a human being. That is why I come to Kadıköy”. Young people say that this street and the people living there are important for them and thus they are willing to participate in meetings and when there is noise on the street, they intervene and silence others. At a point of tension during the meeting, a participant left the workshop and defied the attitude of home owners: “We recognize you but you do not recognize us and when you see us, you treat us badly”. This reflects the poor communication which is at the core of the problems.

The Muhtar expressed as follows: “I am the muhtar of the property owners and also the people coming from the periphery. The solution should not be sold only on these streets. As those who drink alcohol want to sleep when they go home, the residents also want to sleep. And the language we use is also important.”

June 3, 2014 –Brainstorming Workshop with Designers

The workshop was carried out in two phases. Firstly, at the meeting on March 30, the problems, grouped under four headlines were discussed in order to develop solutions in groups. And during the second phase, the ideas were opened to discussion in whole and the ideas that were to be developed as suggestions for the meeting ahead were selected.

June 9, 2014 Solution Group – Municipality –Designers Meeting

This workshop was carried out in two phases. During the first phase, regarding the detected problems, the solution offers developed by the designers and the designs they made accordingly were assessed. During the second phase, residents of the neighborhood, users, business owners and municipality officers developed new solution offers. The suggested interventions on Kadife Street and the area in its vicinity were marked on the map. In this process, which was more moderate compared to the first meeting, everyone’s responsibility in the new process was clarified and it was decided that these suggestions would also be shared with those who could not attend this meeting and their opinions could also be collected.

Street Forums

Especially those who made complaints, such as the Church, were visited and they were informed about the recent discussions.

June 11, 2014 –Meeting at the Municipality

The problems and the solutions that were expressed throughout the entire period as well as the responsibilities of the parties were shared with municipality officers in order to create a roadmap. According to the shared report, the problems that were expressed are as below:

The problems expressed by the residents of the neighborhood:

  • Loud music, human noises (shouting, laughing and murmur), traffic noise (horns, motorcycles), and the noise from metal caskets of beer carried to the bars
  • Use of guns and assaults with knife
  • Drug abuse and sexual acts on the street
  • Urinating on public places, building entrances, walls; smell of alcohol and urine
  • Ringing apartment building bells, throwing rubbish and bottles to balconies
  • After tenants left the neighborhood, the social structure of the neighborhood changed and the texture of the neighborhood started to disappear
  • The ambulances cannot enter Halis Efendi Street as taxi drivers block the street
  • After the indoor-smoking ban, the bars started placing tables on the street and the street became an open-air bar.
  • The related officials do not provide supervision for piles of garbage and security
  • Values of houses are falling
  • There are so many liquor stores; young people who drink alcohol are insulting us and say “go somewhere else to live”
  • Car drivers are driving too fast on the street

The problems expressed by the business owners:

  • “When there are tables, shopkeepers adopt it more”
  • We cannot establish dialogue with residents of the neighborhood; we asked them personally for finding solutions but they refused to speak to us
  • Noises and consumption of alcohol in the street; motorcycles, taxis, and cars are invading the street, stopping traffic
  • After the banning of table use on the street, the business owners had to reduce the number of personnel (they used to employ 20 people whereas now they employ 5-6 people)
  • The bars and cafes are exposed to disturbances
  • The families that live in the neighborhood are blaming the bars for the problems and since they want the bars to be shut down, they act discriminatory towards the business owners
  • The church and the backyard of the parking lot are used as toilets
  • After bans and rules, the tension grows even further and people do not obey the rules

Problems expressed by those using the street for socialization:

  • “We are manifesting our freedom here and restrictions will not work”
  • Because of state perspective towards alcohol and bans, there are people coming from everywhere to this street, which makes it crowded
  • The users of the street should not be stereotyped since some of the users are sensitive. (One of the users in the meeting said that s/he collects bottles as a volunteer before leaving and is doing what s/he can)
  • The noise is disturbing and some of the users are warning those who sing out loud
  • They have the right to use outdoors and public spaces. 'Living outside is not something to be ashamed of, it is a way of life”
  • They need constructive criticism and discriminatory attitudes are backfiring
  • The general social and economic conditions and the relation of these problems with the security policies of the state are being ignored
  • The yards are too crowded and they cannot find spaces and they prefer to sit on the street, which makes them more comfortable

The problems expressed by the Head of the Neighborhood (Muhtar)

  • Since the streets are not safe in the night, problems occur. However, the bars cannot be held responsible for this and it should be taken into consideration that the residents of the neighborhood have the right to sleep at night.

The problems expressed by the Church:

  • Motorcycle dealers are selling drugs; the young people who use alcohol and drugs are getting out of control
  • The user profile of the street changed and there are many people coming from outside of Kadıköy; increased teenagers
  • They are urinating on the corner of the church, entering and sleeping in the church yard, especially at night, and sitting in front of the church door
  • Child addicts and the noise of “darbuka” drum

Solutions offered by the parties (These solutions were offered personally, prior to any consensus):

Solutions offered by the residents of the neighborhood:

  • Niche spaces should be removed; the smoking ban should be resolved inside venues and people’s use of the street controlled
  • For urination problem, the warning posters to be prepared by Caferağa Solidarity (the civil initiative of the neighborhood) should be used
  • Municipality should carry out supervisions more heavily and often; bars and cafes who do not obey rules should be cancelled
  • A cleaning service should be made available 24/7 by the municipality and the street should be washed
  • Events should be organized for Moda seaside and the area should be made more attractive. Alternative places other than Caferağa should be created and the users should be directed to these areas
  • The police should increase controls and the drivers exceeding speed limits should be fined and quick intervention is required
  • Banners and posters addressing young people from the perspective of the residents should be prepared and hung and communication should be established
  • Neighborhood wards system should be re-introduced; people should be urged to throw their rubbish into bins
  • The relevant streets are passages to Moda and other places and they cannot be pedestrianized. However, through accessories such as speed bumps, the traffic can be slowed down
  • As an alternative event, dinner tables can be laid in order to remind the users of the existence of residents; tables of bars should be removed from the street
  • Measures should be taken before the crowd rather than after it becomes too crowded
  • Stricter rules should be imposed in terms of the issuance of licenses and the supervision of businesses and preventive sanctions should be introduced especially about the businesses’ extra space use on the street
  • Street wash with two hours of interval on Fridays and Saturdays can also reduce the crowdedness
  • Liquor stores should be closed by 10 PM and this should be supervised and new licenses for liquor stores should not be issued
  • The venues should closed by 12 AM on weekdays and by 2 AM on the weekends
  • A separate hotline of for complains about this area can also be opened; problems that are encountered here should be publicized through media
  • In the longer term, this area, which has a residential function, should not transform into an entertainment center and in the planning process, the functions should be carried to somewhere else (Kuş Dili Meadow can be considered since there is low density of housing)
  • Legal solutions can be sought if the aforementioned solutions are not put into practice

Solution offers by the business owners:

  • The cars parking on the niche spot next to the church prevent cleaning and security and this niche spot can be removed.
  • The businesses can prevent urinating on church walls by placing tables.
  • Bar owners should be directly warned in cases of noise, direct communication should be established and business owners should often meet the residents’ association.
  • The road should be pedestrianized between the hours of 19:00 and 03:00 except for cases of ambulance and fire department and thus controlled traffic should be established.
  • In order for the streets to be taken under control, the placement of tables and chairs should be pre-organized and thus business owners should have more control over the public place.
  • Sensor illumination should be installed at the doors of apartment buildings.
  • Shopkeepers are suggesting the entitlement of wards among shopkeepers. A regulation can be made in order to enable shopkeepers intervene in cases of noise and intemperance.

Solution offers from people using the street for socialization:

  • Mobile toilets should be installed by the municipality and regular cleaning should be carried out.
  • Municipality can sell retail-price alcohol in its social facilities and therefor people can use such facilities.
  • The cleaning vehicles of the municipality should arrive at earlier hours. They may come at 00.00 AM instead of 04.00 AM.
  • Bars should use insulation.
  • Instead of social events, new areas of attraction should be created. Outdoor activities should be organized at some other place and the crowds should be attracted to such places through advertising.
  • Warning banners should be used in order to create empathy and communication between the residents of the neighborhood and users.
  • Nothing should be banned in the neighborhood. We are able to solve our own problems.

Solution offers from the Church:

  • We do not want tables in front of the church.
  • Illumination solutions should be developed for nighttime.
  • The parking niche in front of the church wall should be removed and the road should be directed towards the church.
  • The metal bars of the church should be rearranged in order to prevent sitting and jumping inside the yard.
  • They solved the drug abuse problem in Zürich by directing such people towards artistic activities and we can also try this.
  • Municipality may provide places with cheaper alcohol sale in a controlled manner.

Social Workers Association Report:

Volunteering social workers, who worked with the municipality, observed the street for two months like the habitual of the street and a social and demographic structure of the street was defined. According to the results,

  • Until 12 AM, young people between the ages of 19 and 28 are more active and the number of drinkers increases.
  • After 2 AM, people from the age group of 28-35 become active. The recently rising sale and use of drugs has had its impact on this. Drug abuse has become a problem that can only be solved by the police whereas it must be solved through empathy.
  • Young people are having problems with employment. Considering the solutions, this should be taken into account and areas of interest that could in the long term help young people to be employed should be established.
  • During the designation of the social events for the young people, it should be considered that young people regard such events as the “events imposed by the state” and they may react to such events.
  • The design solutions prepared for the area should be reducing the density and the density here should be mitigated through the creation of other centers of attraction.
  • The new centers of attraction to be created should allow young people to socialize with various events rather than merely serving alcohol.
  • Banning things may cause new tensions and therefore the perception of banning should be avoided.
  • The approach from the central government is very important in the resolution of this problem the District Office, Police Headquarters and the Provincial Administration should also be working in their areas of responsibility.
  • A solution to drug abuse problem will also reduce the problems in the area to a great extent.
  • The sustainability and everyone’s adoption of all of the solutions (from design to new regulations) is a must.
  • The living quality of the area should be increased. Kadife Street and vicinity should be more than a spatial security issue but should also provide solution for a social environment.
  • Pedestrianization can be implemented between certain hours through patrolling by municipality field staff.
  • Design should be the starting point for the mitigation of the tension here. The new designs will be the signals of change.
  • Installation of a mobile toilet will mean legitimizing the existing use of the area and we should consider whether this is desired.
  • The latest permitted hour for alcohol sale by liquor stores, which is currently 00.00 AM can be set as 10.00 PM with the demand of the municipal council and the residents.
  • The number of users of the street can be reduced as a result of the constant supervisions to ensure that the liquor stores comply with the latest hour for alcohol sale.
  • The streets should be controlled and excess of capacity should be reduced.
  • The residents of the neighborhood, the users and the shopkeepers should mutually agree and this consensus should be written down and publicized.

Collective decisions:

  • The parking niche on the corner of the church (in İhsan Ünlüer Street) should be removed since it is dark and insecure and sidewalk should be expanded.
  • The surrounding area of the church and all other blind spots should be illuminated.
  • Landscaping and surface areas should be rearranged in order to prevent sitting.
  • Traffic rearrangement / controlled passing: This could be applied in order to prevent high speed and car noises and Kadife Street and Dr. İhsan Ünlüer Street could be pedestrianized between certain hours. Motor vehicle access by the residents of the neighborhood can be arranged for emergency situations. Passage can be controlled by the municipality officers or business owners. Additionally, the taxi stop areas should be determine and access and stops should be organized.
  • Municipal Services / Cleaning: due to rising amount of garbage during nighttime, cleaning should be carried out by the municipal personnel between 8PM - 12AM and the personnel should establish dialogues and warn the users of the street and after 12AM, cleaning should continue with the cleaning vehicles. Additionally, the number of containers ad frequency of garbage picking should be increased. Recycling bins should be placed on the edges and the collectors should be enabled to collect the garbage from one stop without having to enter the street repeatedly.
  • Alternative Places: the large groups of people on the street should be directed to Moda seaside and to this end, events should be encouraged on the seaside (concerts, DJ performances, street artists etc. through provision of infrastructure, electricity, on-street guidance, posters and banners etc.). The events on the seaside should be made perpetual.
  • Dialogue and Empathy / Shared Use of the Street: to avoid new problems in the future, dialogue and empathy among the groups should be increased with outdoor events. Walls of empathy where people can pin their messages could be created and residents may also hang banners of warning on their windows. Swap market events could also be organized in order to strengthen communication in the public space. Aside from these, some art events could also be hosted on the street. Events to bring together the residents and the visitors of the street should be organized.
  • Venues and houses could be sound-insulated.
  • A solution should be found not through bans but through rules for everyone, adaptation and encouraging appropriation.
  • Liquor stores should stop selling alcohol at 10.00 PM and this should be supervised by the municipality.
  • Kadife Street and the other streets in the surrounding area should be cleaned at 00.00 by the municipality.

Implementation of the decisions:

The decisions taken have not been fully implemented. However, an implementation developed spontaneously, producing a solution to the problems. So far, Kadıköy Municipality has been continuing to make open calls for debates, to carry out talks with parties through various channels and has been carrying out its tasks and responsibilities. A public statement made by the NGOs in Moda after this process reveals that a consensus have been reached among the decisions. 

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

Aside from the decisions based on consensus, banners were prepared by a neighborhood initiative, which had not joined the process at first, asserting that drinking outdoors is a freedom that should not be discussed but later on joined in spontaneously. These banners defended that everyone using the street should make efforts to understand others. The staff of the municipality, when they went to hang the banners prepared by the designers, saw these banners that were already hanged. Thus they preferred not to replace the existing banners prepared by the initiative. The fact that the neighborhood initiative itself prepared such warning signs instead of a public institution was also something particularly appreciated. The residents began to place tables in front of their apartment buildings and to drink tea there. Therefore, they prevented others from being seated in front of their buildings. They also began establishing closer relations with the visitors of the street. Then, the visitors began warning each other and picking up their trash from the street and especially, sensitivity developed towards drug abuse. The municipality made physical interventions such as landscaping and illumination and started washing the street after certain hours. Most importantly, prejudices were overcome, an environment of dialogue was established, the parties established mutual understanding and developed a form of conduct accordingly. The washing on the street at 12 AM would normally have caused reactions whereas this was prevented through the process of collective decision making. Thus, the wet sidewalks repelled visitors from sitting down on the ground.

However, the factors that are causing the problems have not been completely overcome. Today, especially on the Asian Side of Istanbul, there are few places besides Kadıköy where people can freely socialize and participate in social activities. However, at this point, freedom cannot be defined as disturbing others. The main target in the efforts made for the past year has been to establish an environment where all parties respect each other and to do this not by causing desolated streets but through developing mutual understanding to solve the problems. 

Analysis and Lessons Learned

Throughout this process, the core of the problems was also dealt with, through the supervision of alcohol sale hours, imposing fines against violations and making it harder to receive licenses for alcohol sale. Especially for preserving the functions of the historical marketplace, cooperation was made with universities to control the destructive impacts of market conditions. However, at this point, the most critical role will be played by the property owners in Kadıköy. The opening of bars in residential areas takes place with the will of the property owners. In the same manner, property owners also encourage the opening of cafes and bars to receive higher rents and are thus driving the traditional shopkeepers away. The impact of the free market conditions on cities do not emerge merely through mega projects or transformation projects and shopping malls but also through the conversion of the city into a consumable meta and thus its becoming no longer sustainable.

At this point, the struggle should be against this tendency of cities to become a meta that also determines the way of consumption. Planning the city through a strategy ensuring the use of all parties sharing the city should be reconsidered according to today’s conditions. The policy implementation concerning the cities should be uncovered on a local scale for each neighborhood and social opposition should be perpetuated. To this end, the municipalities that are supposed to function in favor of the society should develop the conditions for “co-governing”, provide solutions to problems by bringing together the parties of those problems and be more creative in establishing their local and unique methods for each case and move beyond local government decision-making clichés. 

See Also

Collaborative Planning 

Scenario Workshops 

Community Organizing 

Participatory Urban Planning 

Kadikoy Urban Planning Teaching 


[1] Nexis Istanbul. Retrieved from (Turkish; broken link)

[2] Lepeska, David. (2014, July 2). Istanbul’s gentrification by force leaves locals feeling overwhelmed and angry. The Guardian. Retrieved from

[3] Kadıköy Belediyesi (n.d.). Geographical Position. Retrieved from 

[4] TAK (2014). ORTAK Solutions to Problems. Retrieved from (Turkish)

External Links

Nexis Istanbul Preservation Map [broken link]

Research Articles: Politics of Participatory Urban Space Design: A Case Study on Istanbul ; Urban Design for Sustainability: A Study on the Turkish City 

What is TAK? 

Istanbul Tasarim Atolyesi Kadikoy Development and Planning Organization TAK 


Lead Image: TAK Meeting/The Guardian

Secondary Image: Kadıköy

Tertiary Image: TAK Kadıköy