Gentrification in Tophane, Inner-city Neighbourhood in Istanbul
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Tophane is a historical neighbourhood of Istanbul where gentrification has recently started. The process is characterised by the implementation of a revitalisation project put forward by the central government and the moving in of entrepreneurs and a new middle class. This study aims to explore the impact of gentrification processes on the social community of Tophane. It focuses on the resisters: the people who remain in the neighbourhood despite the gentrification process going on. Using an in-depth, qualitative semi-structured interview process with local inhabitants and key persons, it has been found that their experiences are multiple, and originate from complex and variegated economic, social and cultural interplays. The inhabitants who resist replacement face substantial physical and social changes in the neighbourhood. Throughout our analysis, we highlight the underexplored relevance of social ties, community and culture. Often the inhabitants embrace the developments and caution surrounding them at the same time. We also underline the often overlooked importance of attachment to and pride for the neighbourhood which clarify this paradox. These explanations have implications for our appreciation of gentrification and urban renewal projects and hold valuable insights for future research on the impact of gentrification and residents’ experiences.