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Perceiving Urban Transformation from the Perspective of Evolutionary Economics: Renewal of Houses in Bağdat Street, Istanbul

Emre Balikci and Dicle Koylan

Journal of Economic Issues, 2020, vol. 54, issue 1, 164-182

Abstract: In this article, we analyze urban transformation in Istanbul using the concepts of evolutionary economics and show that it is a process driven by people’s desire to climb the social hierarchy through “costly signaling,” or conspicuous consumption, rather than by a desire to improve the functional quality of their living spaces. To understand the main motivation behind people’s demand for urban transformation, we conducted in-depth interviews with residents and observed that they endorse the process because it generates extensive costs, waste, and a decrease in the quality of life that can only be afforded by the wealthy, who thereby differentiate themselves from the less well-off. We argue that this is different from consumption decisions motivated solely by benefit maximization¬—a concept that is independent from the social context¬—and therefore can only be understood via evolutionary economics.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1080/00213624.2020.1720571

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