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Şentepe in memories: a field research on gecekondu, memory and nostalgia

Arık, Gözde
Gecekondu is one of the most frequently researched and much-debated phenomenona by the academia in Turkey. Within the frame of latest urban policies, gecekondu houses have started to be demolished and new apartment blocks have been constructed instead. However, when evaluated integrally, it could be seen that gecekondu and memories regarding gecekondu continue to affect life of dwellers. Moreover, how the life in gecekondu is remembered constitutes legitimacy ground for urban transformation projects. Therefore, it could be said that relevancy of gecekondu phenomenon with the urban space and transformations continues. In present-day conditions, it requires to be analyzed through the conceptual tool memory due to physical demolition of gecekondus. In this study, a previous gecekondu neighbourhood under transformation in Ankara, namely Şentepe neighbourhood, is studied. Through twenty-nine semi-structured in depth interviews with the previous gecekondu, current apartment residents have been conducted in order to able to look at the changes in the life of the dwellers. Consequently, in the narratives of dwellers, nostalgic tone carrying positive attributions on the previous solidarity and collective practices in gecekondus has been found. Lastly, meaning of this nostalgic tone for present life in the urban space is discussed.