© 2021 Higher Education Press Limited CompanyThis paper presents an attempt to initiate community empowerment within the participatory neighbourhood upgrading context of the Şengül Hammam Neighbourhood (İstiklal). We adopted the Participatory Action Research methodology, which aims to generate knowledge meaningful for the community towards upgrading and revitalizing the neighbourhood. Respectively, a series of workshops, focus groups, and community activities were implemented in parallel processes with different neighbourhood groups. In order to change the situation in the neighbourhood, the inquiry began by mobilizing neighbourhood stakeholders and planning the future with primary school children. Later, this gained the active support of parents, women, the municipality, local leaders, and civil associations, and led them to take collective action over garbage collection, cleaning up the neighbourhood and building a playground-park. The mayor at the time of the research showed interest in İstiklal but did not or could not give any financial or political support to upgrade the physical setting as a whole. The lack of support from the municipality in that regard and the neighbourhood being left to its own destiny caused a gradual dilapidation and loss of historic and cultural values.