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  • non-fiction
  • photography
  • illustration
  • BILGI Workshop

Izmir, Turkey

My Hood at the Table in Efeler Street

by Cerensu Bartu

My Hood at the Table is a project created by Cerensu Bartu as an open discussion platform to be able to voice the various perspectives about your neighbourhood.

Emre was actually born in Akıncılar neighborhood. He changes a total of four houses, including the house he was born in. All of these houses are within the borders of the Buca district. That's why we can say that Emre was born and raised in Buca. Putting Menderes Street in the center of Buca and neighborhoods around it, Emre says that Efeler is the third or fourth-largest neighborhood.


First of all, we start the conversation with his house in Efeler Mahallesi, where he lived when we met. As the inhabitants define, Enhoşlar, but in official records, Efeler Mahallesi is in Şirinyer, the old center of Buca. Emre calls Enhoşlar "a city built on a street". 10 years ago, Enhoşlar was one of the fastest modernizing neighborhoods in Buca. He also talks about Şirinyer and hippodrome. For Şirinyer, he says “Although Şirinyer was bigger, its development has always been always slower. It still is.” I forget to ask why, but Şirinyer clings to the past more tightly than other places and there are many tradesmen who have been in the same place for years. Hippodrome, on the other hand, is one of the greenest areas of Buca, and it is a culture, although it has lost its characteristics nowadays. He insists on how hard it can be to find a place like the Hippodrome, a place to sit and watch a horse race, take a walk at the hippodrome, or just eat sausage and bread.

The subject comes to the house where they moved recently. One side of the house there is a large studfarm and the other side is Seyfi Demirsoy, the biggest public hospital of Buca. Although it was damaged by the earthquake, it is still a hospital that fascinates us with its garden.

The subject moves to Emre's neighborhood again. He defines the neighborhood as the most livable place in Buca. The neighbourhood, which used to be full of detached houses, is now hosting at least triplex apartments. Although the kinship and neighborliness continue with the neighborhood culture, it does not have the old excitement and pleasure. The sky cannot be seen as clearly as before because of the houses that are demolished and replaced with apartments turned into shops.

An illustrated image of how the neighbourhood is changing
An illustrated image of how the neighbourhood is changing

Emre, who has been living with his family until now, says he looks after a house. He states that he is looking for a house especially around Bornova, Bayraklı, and Buca, and adds: “Bornova Bayraklı pays 300 liras on top of the rent of 1600 liras. These rents are around 1200-1300 in Buca. When you think about it, these numbers are a lot of money for Buca. I guess this is because there are more new houses in this area.” I don't think it's just because of new homes. With the earthquake, people seriously flocked to Buca. Because the rents were cheap and the pace of development was high. This caused the rents in Buca to increase exponentially.

An illustrated image about the changing the neighbourhood
An illustrated image about the changing neighbourhood

He is also a student of Emre Dokuz Eylül University. We are starting to talk about the Tınaztepe campus. He says that the campus has just begun to be urbanized for its surroundings and it will become more valuable in the future. I also ask why this region, which has not developed for years, is now changing rapidly. In response, he says the following sentences, “Because the residential area was outside the county. If the center had not shifted, perhaps it still would not have developed so much. Even the transportation plan changed two or three years ago.” However, Hasanağa, one of the new centers of Buca, discuss with an apartment around the Hasanağa. “As a result of such rapid and unplanned urban changes, they erect 14-floor buildings across very old cemeteries. The people living in those buildings are also happy because their houses are looking at the greenery in the cemetery.” He explains the urban development and change of Buca very well with an example.

In addition, he talks about the increasing number of skyscraper-like residences around Tınaztepe and on Çeşme highway. These buildings are places that can be reached by personal cars, except for transportation plans such as urbanization and public transportation. Here, too, we understand very well the places that are trying to gentrify with residences are the isolated peripheral parts of the city.

Finally, I ask Emre about the aparment complex where he lives now. It was not very difficult for him to adapt to a city culture while he was in a neighborhood culture before. He says there are a few things he's uncomfortable with. First of all, the phenomenon of "city or balcony gardens", which is the biggest factor in the marketing of sites today, is that there is a parking lot on the site where Emre lives. The second is that the almost whole site is still not included in most online delivery applications. This shows over and over again that urbanization and development do not proceed in parallel routes.