Perceiving Urban Transformation from the Perspective of Evolutionary Economics: Renewal of Houses in Bagdat Street, Istanbul
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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 not sign -a concept that is independent from the social context not sign -and therefore can only be understood via evolutionary economics.