Many of the urban renewal projects (URPs) in consolidating democracies are not market-led projects but rather projects initiated by the state and implemented by the private sector. Promising to improve urban poor regions with URPs poses unique challenges and opportunities to residents, yet their microfoundations and the impact on citizens remain largely unexplored. Tracing the ways in which state, economic, and individual factors interact in two drastically different URPs in Istanbul, this resident-centered approach highlights two contradictory patterns: (1) citizens' increasing dependency on the central government and reluctance to protest and (2) the exigency to raise land-based demands beyond the confines of elections. Together these introduce URP residents as a new critical urban force in their respective democracies.

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