The Role of the State in the Commodification of Urban Space: The Case of Branded Housing Projects, Istanbul

Bilge Serin, Harry Smith, Chris McWilliams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
76 Downloads (Pure)


Globally, cities have been experiencing neoliberal urbanization processes since the 1970s, while also contributing to the production of the neoliberal condition per se. The neoliberal state plays a core role in such processes, which have deepened the commodification of urban space via various mechanisms such as the privatization of public land and key urban infrastructure. This article critically investigates the direct involvement of the neoliberal state in the commodification of urban space by focusing on its triple role as a restructuring mechanism, a land developer and a volume housing developer in Turkey. The research develops and applies a theoretical framework based on Lefebvre’s production of space and Gramsci’s theory of hegemony. The paper examines the development of branded housing projects, which are private neighbourhoods, by analysing national legislative and organizational changes leading to the production of this type of development and illustrates this using four example projects in Istanbul. The paper contributes to the international evidence of the variegated characteristics of the neoliberal state in relation to urban development, and the neoliberal state’s role in the accumulation of capital in contemporary capitalism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-358
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Urban and Regional Studies
Issue number4
Early online date10 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • Commodification
  • Gramsci
  • Lefebvre
  • enclaves
  • housing
  • neoliberalism
  • privatization
  • segregation
  • state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'The Role of the State in the Commodification of Urban Space: The Case of Branded Housing Projects, Istanbul'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this