Local Shopkeepers' Perspectives on an Attempt for Municipally-led Commercial Gentrification Via Pedestrianization

Kırmızı M.

PLANLAMA-PLANNING, vol.32, no.3, pp.345-360, 2022 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 32 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.14744/planlama.2021.14238
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.345-360
  • Keywords: Ecosystem of shopping streets, pedestrianization, political centralization, shopping malls, suburbanization, transnational migrants, CITY, RESILIENCE, TURKEY
  • Ondokuz Mayıs University Affiliated: Yes


This paper studies the interplay between shopping street revitalization and pedestrianization in Samsun in Turkey. The revitalization via pedestrianization of Istiklal Street-known in the vernacular as Ciftlik Street-was first welcomed by the local shopkeepers who formed a merchants association to support the municipal project. Yet the physical outcome of pedestrianizationled revitalization was the concretization and homogenization of facades throughout the street. The project caused a loss of social atmosphere and an economic downturn on the street. The successors of family businesses on the street criticized the top-down implementation as the main cause of this negative outcome. To answer this criticism and to understand what was done wrong in the revitalization of Samsun's high street, this study analyzed local shopkeepers' criticisms. Fifteen in-depth local shopkeeper interviews, one transnational migrant resident interview, and walking censuses revealed significant issues. These were deindustrialization, suburbanization, and opening of shopping malls in close distances as well as the socio-demographic changes in the city centre finalized by the arrival of Middle Eastern migrants after the 2010s. This research suggests that the simultaneous opening of shopping malls nearby heightened the street's deterioration by pulling away branded shops and customers. Pedestrianization, while being only the `tip of the iceberg', was used as a scapegoat, and reversed. This study aims to emphasize the idea that conceived spaces might not always overlap with the lived spaces by showing that urban planning practices that are good at face value might create unexpected outcomes depending on the context.