I was in my teenage years when people around me spoke about globalization and whether we should stand up against it or support it. It was something yet to come, or at least our perception was that it is not yet here, but it is coming, so we should react somehow.
In many ways globalization was an abstract thing. We were often explained that globalization will diminish the role of our culture locally and globally. We were told that globalization will bring new values that are not dear to us. We were even scared by losing our language, as everyone might start speaking one universal language.
Whether we were too young to be exposed to such an analysis, or whether the people who spoke about threats of globalization didn’t analyse it themselves, one aspect of globalization was omitted from these discussions, i.e. economic globalization and its effect on urban transformation.
When I started writing about the culture of construction in Turkey, my attention was caught by an article about gentrification plans in London. People expressed their opposition to the luxury brought by “development” plans in Camden which according to them was not only a threat to the local culture, but also posed a problem in terms of affordability of the neighbourhood. “The heart of Camden is being ripped out, pubs are being converted to luxury flats no-one can afford, venues are under threat, the market is flogged off to be a casino (and yet more unaffordable flats). Rents are rising … fast”, read the event statement on Facebook. This reminded me of the situation in Istanbul. (more…)