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Cities are the focal points of economic, political and social change. This also impacts the transformation of architecture: Redesignated use, demolition, new constructions, adaptations and expansion are only a few of the strategies to adjust the built environment to changing interests and needs. The hotly debated question is this: Ultimately, whose interests will be decisive, and by what means? The neighbourhood Tarlabasi is directly adjacent to Istanbul‘s central Taksim Square. Located off the main shopping strip and the centre of tourist nightlife, Tarlabasi’s small, old flats are inhabited predominantly by Kurds and African immigrants. When the neighbourhood is restructured, they will be forced to move – the planners‘ maxim for the exorbitant tourist area is not careful restoration of the existing built environment, but rather demolition and historicising new architecture. After the revamp, guidebooks will presumably rhapsodise about the „fascinating demimonde between prostitution and petty crime“. Billboards along the Dolapdere Caddesi already concealed a deep construction hole when we visited in July 2013. Trees behind neighbouring Gezi Park are scheduled for removal; it complements the symbolic emptiness behind the façades of Tarlabasi well.