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The aim of this study is to investigate housing patterns in İzmir. Different types of housing on
different sites of İzmir will be examined and some economic outcomes of these will be
mentioned. That will be achieved in the light of brief history about housing patterns in İzmir.
With transition to urbanization, structure of the cities was exposed to several modifications
and İzmir was also affected from these modifications. Migration, inadequate housing, new
types of settlements and segregations among individuals- both social and spatial can be listed
as examples of these changings in the city of İzmir.

Houses are not only to live in; also they are expressions of life style. It is not hard to guess
what kind of houses people have when you look to them. People’s appearances reflect their
life styles, accordingly their housing choices. Just imagine, a well-dressed man with an
expensive car stop at traffic light, what you think about where he lives, and what kind of
house type he prefers etc. unsurprisingly, your opinions are easy to estimate: a luxury house
that is outcome of conspicuous consumption. In contrast, think about a student who sits in
bus which stopped at the same traffic light. It is clear that you imagine simple apartment floor
that is combined with basic needs.

In addition, house is covering society just like a second skin. So it is obvious that houses have
significant roles on individuals’ way of living. Houses may affect your vision about life. In
other words, they may affect your degree of education, participation to social activities, future
expectations, job opportunities, friendship relations, etc.

People make decisions about where to live according to their budget constraints, needs, life
styles, life expectations and status etc. Demand for houses is not only shaped by financial
conditions of individuals. Generally, high income classes prefer residences that have high
security properties although there is no need to secure, it is just for prestige. Residences are
outcomes of insecurity in foreign countries but in Turkey they are usually just imitations of
foreign ones.


Previously, while İzmir was a

small coastal town, from 19th century
it became the second biggest city
after İstanbul with several changings.
At that time, İzmir was a
cosmopolitan city that was composed
by different communities such as
Turks, Armenians, Rums, Jewry.
These different groups of people had
different life styles and as a
consequence, varieties in housing
Şekil 1: Geleneksel Türk Ev Yapısı (Gülnür
Ballice arşivi)
were occurred. Turks mostly were living in houses that have two floors and a garden. These
houses were simple and functional. On the other hand, minorities’ houses were more
attractive with their rich materials and qualified architecture. Also with the feeling of being
minority, these houses usually were shaped with respect to security worries.

Despite many differences in the city, there exists a house type that can be called as traditional
“İzmir house”. It is a synthesis of
Western Europe and Turkish

At the period of 1930-1950,

because of great depression and
being existence of bourgeoisie
progress, there were not clear
improvements about housing

With 1950’s important

development was seen in housing,
especially in 1952 Turkey’s
participation to NATO and İzmir
Şekil 2: İzmir House (Cengiz Onaran arşivi) became one of centers of NATO
caused improvements in İzmir. Membership of NATO means that openness in
politics and in economic relationships. Also that period included transition to
multiparty system and liberal politics. Closeness to America in international
politics helped Turkey to be a part of Marshall Plan. Subsidies from America and being a
part of NATO started to shape face of İzmir. In 1954 a new zoning plan (imar planı) which
give permission builders to build max three floors high buildings, was started to apply. High
demand to houses and high population increase rate motivated builders to force limits of
zoning plan.

Although demand for house increased at 1950’s,

production facilities and supply of input could
handle at 1960’s.So at the period of between
1950-1960 suppliers of houses were government
official cooperatives. Because of that main
property was being economic which dominated at
shaping housing.

Şekil 3:1950'lerin başı


With having a strategic location and regional potential, İzmir has been seen as an attractive
city to live by many communities. In 1940s, especially after Second World War, a huge flow
of internal migration was experienced; the structure of agriculture groups was changed by the
new state policies and mechanizations in agriculture. As a consequence, people who were
living in Eastern parts of Turkey who became unemployed found the solution by moving to
this attractive city, İzmir. But more important internal migration was seen in 1960s.
Accordingly, with increasing population, there occurred a shortage in housing. This situation
led to a formation of illegal buildings – squatter houses. Squatters are also unhealthy,
insecure and unplanned buildings that affect city-dwellers and urbanization in a negative way.
In a research, it is indicated that nearly half of İzmir’s houses are made up of unlawful
buildings. Also squatters in İzmir are said to be multiple-storey and a great percentage of
people (almost %60) are living in the same quarter with their fellow citizens. These low
income groups took place in the centre of the city, firstly on the hillside of Kadifekale.
Bayraklı followed this and then these illegal residential areas began to spread to different
parts of the city: from Bornova (Altındağ, Çamdibi, etc) to Buca (Kuruçeşme, etc). Till mid
1980s public land began to get full with squatters but after 1985 together with squatters, mass
housing areas arised under the supervision of municipalities, cooperatives and real-estate
bank. In order to get rid of the squatter problem, social housing applications such as Evka,
Egekent, and İzkent were initiated. Aim was providing affordable houses for low and middle
income groups. Liberal economy policy’s impacts on housing was seen in 1990s and public
left its places to private entrepreneurs.

With huge amount of population, “unknown fact” occurred and this caused many individuals
to move away from public areas because of security anxiety. Private life became important.
Rich people wanted to live with people who had similar properties with them; so they
preferred areas that homogenous people exist. As a reflection of this, gated communities and
shopping complexes began to be formed with responding to several new consumption culture
demands. Hereafter, luxury and prestige engages importantly in the city.

In addition to that, in 1964 new commonhold law (kat mülkiyeti) legalized, that step changed
perception of houses. Before that law, houses were accepted as families’ prestige image, a
part of family tradition and confidence. With huge migration high demand for housing forced
to find a solution about having most profitable way of using least unit of area. This aspect
caused to mushroom builder who had the philosophy of “build-sell”. Also government
legalized laws about zoning plan which give permission to increase density and floor
formation. So many historical buildings started to abundant for new buildings that have many
floors. Also increased density by government provides closer formation within buildings.
Şekil 4: Önceleri Talatpaşa bulvarı (C. onaran
arşivi) Şekil 5: Sonrasında inşa
edilen çok katlı binalar,
Talatpaşa cad. (G. Ballice

In 1969 Aliağa refinery was built so industry placed at north.

That caused increased density near north parts of İzmir with low-qualified houses. And for
avoiding low-qualified urbanization Emlak Bank took in hand subsidized house building
(toplu konut) at the same direction. At that period, Narlıdere, Urla, Seferihisar region of
Second dwelling. Second dwelling means that a house use vocationally.

Another breaking point for housing type are seen in izmir was changing at 1980’s. By
leading of Turgut Özal , structure with government invention move to another structure with
neo-liberal politics. Entrance of imported goods in market and expansion in
visual and written media change housing patterns. Inputs of building sector changed
that influenced house patterns. bourgeoisie tried to show their difference and status by
decorating their houses. By that breaking point houses became an image of status and
differences. That evolution of house perception change way to expressionism. Because
with an open economy , increases in imported goods diversified consumers’ options. So
people wanted to use that richness in options and goods for showing their status. Thus region
of “sahil evleri” was created. Sahil evleri region was included houses which can build

İzmir generally follow developments in İstanbul and Ankara rather than create improvement
and export in housing patterns. Reason that lie behind this is izmir missed progress of
equity accumulation while İstanbul and Ankara handled the process at 1980’s.

Intense land route investments affect İzmir highly. Traffic route that is near seaside and
Çeşme highway (1989) moved the city through west direction. In 1994 Çeşme highway
was started to use. By using Çeşme highway, many regions such as Sahilevleri, Narlıdere,
Güzelbahçe, Seferihisar, Zeytinalanı, Urla and Çeşmealtı started to become suburbans.
Suburban is a term that describes part of towns near the town center that are used use just
for living. Suburbanization became an act against to Izmir’s problem such high population
density, air pollution, noise and traffic problems. Generally in Europe suburban determine
regions that are involved by low-quality houses and low-income classes. Turkey copied that
kind of urbanization from American life style. Especially in İzmir, suburban was seen as high-
standard life style. Suburbanization in İzmir started by Özer Yapan at 1990’s, and İstanbul
Kemer Counrty was accepted as a model for İzmir suburban. Prestige and differency
expectations are locomotive motive that lie behind consume these types of housings.

Şekil 6: suburban urla itokent

The trend of suburbanization was

dominated at 1990’s. In contrast, with
2000’s “back to town” trend began to
seen at the stage. Suburban life is far
away from social life in İzmir, also
private transport is so expensive to

Furthermore suburban is far away

from urban furniture. Thus new trend shaped by Condominiums and gated communities.
They are close to town center so benefit from city center conditions while they are separated
by borders. They are like island in the middle of towns.

Furthermore nowadays living in residences are getting popular within High-income level
people. Residences are luxury houses which place in commercial centers. Residence and
gated communities also condominiums result from need of security. However, İzmir is a such

Şekil 7: Narlıdere-ılıca mevkii, Condominium örneği

a special case , there is no need in İzmir such a safe guarded area. These recent popular
housing types result from prestige motive and unequal income distribution.

Masters about housing patterns believe in that İzmir are going to follow gentrification or loft
houses. Gentrification means that rich people prefer to live in regions that belong to poor
people. Move to that kind of region, start restoration of old buildings. After that, poor people
force to displacement from that region. Lofts are house that a kind of converting from
industrial buildings.

Şekil 8: punta residence, alsancak


As a result, it can easily be said that history of İzmir can be divided into two parts; pre-1980
and post-1980. The reason behind this is significant changings in economics, politics,
institutions that happened at 1980s. Generally, that period could be called as transition to
market-oriented, outward-looking development strategy and integration with world market.
Briefly, that period is beginning of domination neo-liberal politics and openness to the world.

Thus, development of new institutions is necessary for global economy. Such as foundation of
capital trading, free trading, banking, infrastructural investments. Spatial changes in
metropolitan cities, also in İzmir, were caused by capital accumulation, developments in the
communication and transportation technologies, opening to global economy and increases in
trading and tourism income.


High-dense growing, being surrounded by squatters, inefficient public services without any
green area, all of these can be counted as properties of pre-1980 period. Production of housing
that shaped the housing patterns was in a form of build-sell. At that period %45-50 of houses
were illegal and %10 of building was done by cooperatives. On the other hand, migration
movement in this period was from rural to urban.


Decentralization process was being seen in this period. Increasing car ownership provided
mobility to the individuals which triggered suburbanization. Also small-scaled production
was converted to mass-production, so mass-housing patterns had chance of arising at
peripheral areas of İzmir. In addition, industrial areas moved from the centers to the organized
selected areas. Migration movements in this period are now inter-urban.

It can be concluded as; political, economical, social and cultural changings have a significant
role on formation of new housing patterns in İzmir. Socio-economic segregations of different
income-leveled individuals were transferred to spatial segregations. New housing areas that
are chose by these different individuals are indicators of this segregation. They are separated
from each other. Being even low-income leveled or high-income leveled can easily be
realized by the kind of houses individuals live in. People whose economic conditions are well
began to move out of the city centers and it can be stated as a contrast when we think about
first existence of cities. The aim was collecting to a center in order to feel secure, living
communal and support solidarity. But nowadays rather than caring communal needs; personal
choices and individual hopes of benefits are getting popular.





Güner, Deniz (2006) İZMİR’DE MODERN KONUT MİMARLIĞI 1950-2006



Ünverdi, hayat at al. (2007) CASE STUDY ON HOUSIN , İZMİR TURKEY