A house in the middle of a large lot emptied for an urban transformation project in Istanbul has found itself at the center of a family’s struggle against developers.

The two-story residence of A.D., who only gave his initials in interviews with the local media, is situated in the middle of a plot of 31 acres in Fikirtepe, a neighborhood in the district of Kadıköy on Istanbul’s Asian side. All other residences in the area were evacuated and subsequently demolished to make way for new housing complexes as part of the project.

But A.D. failed to reach an agreement with the contractor and refused to sell his property. The family left the house after electricity and water to the building were cut off when the project officially kicked off last year, but the building still stands on a mound in the middle of the construction site where dozens of houses were once located. Fikirtepe is the pilot project for urban transformation in Istanbul. Under current regulations, companies contracted for the project are permitted to launch the construction of new buildings if they can reach an agreement with two-thirds of the landowners, though the sole house in the site poses an obstacle to construction.

Urban transformation was first introduced in Turkey in 2004 as an initiative to renew lowerincome areas and reinvigorate shantytown settlements. According to officials, the government is expecting to either demolish or improve a total of 600,000 buildings as part of a nationwide urban transformation project by the end of 2014.


Source Daily Sabah

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