Karakaş B., Yılmaz E.

Memory Studies ‘18 III. International Conference on Memory and the Past, İstanbul, Turkey, 9 - 10 November 2018, pp.15-33

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: İstanbul
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.15-33
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Cities are in a constant change and urban regeneration plays a significant role in changing cities. Although citizens are the major actors and observers of this change, their role is mostly overlooked in macro- historical narrations. Pace of the urban regeneration in particular cities are so fast that this pace has a considerable influence on urban memory. While young citizens have no reminiscent of spaces that exist three decades ago in cities, the elder dwellers remember them with yearning. Karşıyaka, a special region in İzmir, was a town with one-storey traditional houses from 1950s to 1970s. Since 1970s, Karşıyaka has undergone an urbanization process. Five-storey apartment buildings have been built. The population increased with immigration. The city sprawled on the periphery and squatter housing occurs on the edges of the city. Nowadays, a new urban regeneration trend has started in the city. Five storey buildings built in 70s are started to be demolished and new buildings were made at the same field instead. Squatter houses at the periphery begin to turn into five storey residential blocks with reconstruction permit given by municipality.

Especially for cities that undergo remarkable changes in a very short time like Karşıyaka, photographs have become more important for historical identity and memory. It is an effective source in terms of both being an alternative in historiography and being concrete evidence for facts at the same time. A photograph frames a moment belonging to a space and time, which gives an information about history of physical environment, residential areas, changing structures and destroyed nature. At the same time, subject of the photograph could reveal life style, habits, daily practices and entertainment culture in relation with examined space and time. Moreover, it reflects how small dwelling areas are affected by central decisions (Danacıoğlu, 2001, p.90-95).

Therefore, this study is a qualitative inquiry on memories of residents situated in photographs taken in Karşıyaka. It aims at revealing the process of urban regeneration in Karşıyaka, İzmir from mid 1960s to the present through oral history and family photographs. The reason why family photographs are chosen to see the change in the city is that panoramic photographs or large-scaled scenes put a distance between the residents and the city, which are two inseparable components. Another reason for using family photographs is creating an urban awareness in owners of the photographs by making them criticize about continuing urban regeneration. Accordingly, unstructured interviews with subjects of the family photographs were made, and their narratives were cross read with academic and municipal sources. Themes as streets, residential areas, decisions affecting urban environment, daily practices were marked in the residents' narratives.

Keywords: urban regeneration, memory, photograph, Karşıyaka, İzmir.