Urban Design and the Making of Property Markets in Cairo and Istanbul

Sarah El-Kazaz and Tuna Kuyucu

Salt Galata

April 17, 2024 18.30

Dsc05455 Tarlabaşı, 2012 (Fotoğraf: Sarah El-Kazaz)
Tarlabaşı, 2012 (Photo: Sarah El-Kazaz)
Workshop IV

Academic Tuna Kuyucu will be in conversation with Sarah El-Kazaz on her recently published book, Politics in the Crevices: Urban Design and the Making of Property Markets in Cairo and Istanbul (Duke University Press, 2023), which raises critical questions about the role of market reforms in redistributing resources.

The talk will explore the ideas discussed in the book, focusing on the neighborhoods in Istanbul and Cairo that have undergone rapid transformations and how this transnational ethnography depicts the battle for housing that has moved away from traditional political arenas onto private crevices of the city. The book also sketches how multiple parties have utilized urban design strategies to empower conflicting agendas. According to El-Kazaz, such contemporary politicizations of urban design originate from unresolved struggles related to messy transitions from the welfare state to neoliberalism, which have shifted the politics of redistribution from contested political arenas to design practices operating “within” market logic.

This free-admission program will be held in English and is open to everyone.

Sarah El-Kazaz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies at SOAS, University of London. Her research interests include comparative political economy, urbanism in the Global South, infrastructure, the politics of science and technology, and ethnography. She co-edited a special issue on “The Un-Exceptional Middle Eastern City” with City and Society. She is also a co-book review editor at the Arab Studies Journal. Her work appears in Comparative Studies in Society and History, International Journal of Middle East Studies, and City and Society, among others. Before joining SOAS, she was an Assistant Professor of Politics at Oberlin College. She held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Brandeis University Center for Middle East Studies and was the Clifford Roberts Graduate Fellow at Gettysburg College. She completed her PhD at Princeton University, MA at NYU, and BA at the American University in Cairo. Her next book project investigates the politics of digital infrastructures by following the physical and infrastructural materialization of “Cloud” technologies across the Global South, focusing on South Africa and the UAE.

Tuna Kuyucu is an associate professor of Sociology at Boğaziçi University. He received his PhD in sociology from the University of Washington in 2009. His research areas include economic sociology, urban sociology, nationalism, and the sociology of religion. Kuyucu has conducted extensive research on the political economy of urban regeneration and low-income housing in various cities in Turkey, focusing on the case of Istanbul. His work has been published in leading academic journals in urban studies, including Urban Studies, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Urban Affairs Review, and Urban Geography. Recently, he began working on the structure of cultural values and beliefs in Turkey. His first project in this larger field was on nationalist sentiments in Turkey, the findings of which were published in Nations and Nationalism. His second project is a longitudinal study of the changing religious beliefs and practices of adolescents in Turkey. He has received a fellowship from the Urban Studies Foundation, Kadir Has University, and two teaching awards from Boğaziçi University.