An (emptied) collapsed building in Bahçelievler, İstanbul

That happened 10 days ago. I was meaning to write before but I find the time only now. That building was right at the opposite of the building I grew up in. In the very old days, that building’s site was empty and it was our playground. I remember the times when it snowed regularly and we could skate there or build a snowman. Our building was one of the few high floor buildings and the district we lived was actually named after, literally, the houses with gardens (Bahçelievler). My parents still live there, they refuse to leave the neighborhood despite their children’s insistence. Then gone the good old days and gardened houses. All were replaced with high buildings and the neighborhood became like this as of 2013:

It is hard to blame a single party but this breathless settlement, allowing buildings to be built with no parking space or any open spaces needed for emergencies is an alliance of the ruling party and its greedy voters. The building that collapsed had at least one illegal floor but the builders were close to the municipality so that they could get the license easily. They have built such a building that it did not survive two decades.

I think the last time Bahçelievler was a livable place was in 1982:

I find these archival maps at Istanbul municipality website (

I made it closer to look at I grew up. Even at that time, it seems more crowded, but I definitely believe it was quite a humane place to live. Then people got greedy, Turks learned to build taller buildings in shorter periods and no local government was there to stop increasingly inhumane urbanization.


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