Gendered Nature and Urban Culture: The Dialectics of Gated Developments in Izmir, Turkey


  • I am extremely grateful to the residents of the gated developments in Urla and the architects who answered my questions and assisted me in completing this research. The funding for this research was made available by Queen's University Belfast, which allowed me to visit Izmir Institute of Technology. I remain deeply grateful to my host and collaborator, Dr Sebnem Yucel, from whom I have learnt much about this project and about the wider contexts of Turkish society referred to in this article. My gratitude also extends to the three anonymous IJURR reviewers who provided very helpful and constructive feedback for improving this article. All other errors and omissions are mine.


This article adds to recent debates on the emergence of new forms of private gated developments in Turkey that specifically target the upper middle classes. In particular, it focuses on the rise of residential gated developments along the Izmir-Ceşme expressway to highlight how the dialectics between gender, nature and culture are reinforced in these places. The article, based on a case study of three gated developments in this region, suggests that their production is made possible through a series of dualisms between nature and culture, mobility and fixity, urban public life and gendered domesticity, urban modernity and rural parochialism, polluted city and healthy town. Based on interviews with architects, developers and residents, as well as local-authority officials in Urla town who sanction these developments, this article argues that contradictions between different sets of dualisms form a central aspect of the processes through which these developments were designed, produced, marketed and inhabited. Taken collectively, these contradictions point broadly to the limits of gated communities in creating stable, adaptable and sustainable patterns of development in Turkey and the global South.