Ph.D. student Meltem Al receives IJURR Foundation Studentship


Ph.D. student Meltem Al has been awarded a studentship from the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (IJURR) Foundation in the amount 12,000 pounds sterling (approx. $21,000 CDN) for her project, “Spaces of capital, religion, and ideology: Fundamentalist housing enclaves in Istanbul.”

The IJURR Foundation promotes urban and regional research. Within this broad field it is particularly keen to encourage an understanding of the interconnection between social, economic and political processes and of the broader causes and effects of these processes. Research which examines policies critically and focuses on their unintended as well as intended consequences is more likely to be supported than research on managerially defined questions.

Meltem Al’s project (in her own words) “will examine how urban space produces—and is produced by—capital and ideology, through the investigation of fundamentalist housing projects in Turkey. I will focus on conservative residential projects constructed in Istanbul since the late 1980s, when neoliberalism and political Islam started to intervene in the production of the built environment in Turkey. The majority of these projects are located in the Başakşehir district of the city, which originally emerged as a low-income mass-housing development area in the 1990s but soon turned into a hub of elite housing projects addressing upper-class Islamist families. I will analyze selected state-funded housing projects in Başakşehir, that increased property values in the district. I will investigate these projects’ architectural and social features, explore their dialogue with urban space, identify their investors and their addressed audiences, and observe the organization of the daily life there. I will clarify what makes these projects fundamentalist in formal, social, and economic means, and how they differ from other contemporary housing projects in Istanbul.”