Dr Basak Tanulku is an independent researcher from Istanbul, Turkey. Her PhD research was on gated communities in Istanbul, Turkey, and she holds a PhD degree in Sociology, Lancaster University (the UK).
Since then, Tanulku works on diverse urban issues taking place simultaneously in Istanbul, one of the largest, densest and oldest cities of the world. More broadly, she works on housing, gated communities, socio-spatial fragmentation, space-making (from the domestic to the urban level), urban public spaces and commons, urban transformation, alternative urban spaces and protests, urban vacant lands and buildings.
Urban studies, urban and regional planning, housing (gated communities), socio-spatial fragmentation, urban design, cities and consumer culture, space making, urban transformation and more particularly, cities in Turkey.
In the process of globalisation, big cities in Turkey have witnessed the emergence of gated communities a much-debated issue in public opinion. This thesis is comparative research, which distinguishes it methodologically from the rest of the Turkish literature. Contrary to the mainstream literature, I will show that gated communities interact with their surroundings, rather than being isolated housing developments. For this purpose, I selected the communities of Istanbul Istanbul and Kasaba built by the same developer company in Gokturk and Omerli. I have four main interests in this research. First, I examine the relations established with the residents in nearby communities, the local populations and municipalities which lead to economic, political and cultural changes in Gokturk and Omerli. Second, I examine how residents establish boundaries with different groups. In doing this, I argue that gated communities are the reflections of different class and cultural groups so that each social group has its “socially situated symbolic capitals” relevant for that group. Third, I also examine how space is shaped by and shapes people’s lives. For this purpose, I examine the competition between imaginary and real spaces, i.e. “designed” and “lived” places, which gives interesting results about how residents experience their homes leading to the re-evaluation of “sign-value”. Fourth, I explore the “security” aspect of gated communities. For this purpose, I examine how residents perceive Istanbul, which has become a dangerous city due to increasing crime rates and the threat of a future earthquake. I also examine how security is ensured inside gated communities. Finally, I argue that gated communities do not create totally safe and isolated places, but they lead to new insecurities.