WIT Press

The challenges on spatial continuity of urban regeneration projects: the case of Fener Balat historical district in Istanbul


Free (open access)


Volume 12 (2017), Issue 3



Page Range

498 - 507

Paper DOI



WIT Press




Urban regeneration projects in Turkey are the most important urban issues discussed and have social, economic and environmental aspects. In the last 10 years, many legislative regulations have been created by the national government in order to achieve urban regeneration. Today, urban space is produced by urban regeneration projects in Istanbul as it is in many other cities in Turkey. Urban regeneration practices are prepared not only for the former brownfield areas of the city but also for the historical urban environment. This raises heritage conservation issues for urban regeneration. The Fener and Balat district is one of the heritage sites located in the historical peninsula of Istanbul. This historical district has important features such as cultural enrichment, maintaining the urban identity and unique urban patterns. The EU-supported ‘District Fener Balat Rehabilitation Program’ was developed for the district after the 1996 Habitat II Conference in Istanbul. Urban regeneration projects have also been prepared for this historic district since 2006. In this paper, the urban regeneration projects for Fener Balat district will be analyzed, and the results will be discussed based on the technical expertise reports of administrative court proceedings and related to some results of the graduate theses supervised by the authors in the last 10 years. The spatial continuity of the Fener Balat regeneration project is discussed along with weak governance, disconnection with the socioeconomic context and the lack of modern conservation principles for the protection of historical urban patterns. The study argues that the project risks spatial fragmentation, degeneration, disidentification, alienation and gentrification.


planning for historic areas, spatial continuity, urban regeneration projects