This book looks beyond the Aylesbury's public face by examining its rise and fall from the perspective of those who knew it, based largely on the oral testimony and memoir of residents and former residents, youth and community workers, borough Councillors, officials, police officers and architects. What emerges is not a simple story of definitive failures, but one of texture and complexity, struggle and accord, family and friends, and of rapidly changing circumstances. The study spans the years 1967 to 2010 - from the estate's ambitious inception until the first of its blocks were pulled down. It is a period rarely dealt with by historians of council housing, who have typically confined themselves to the years before or after the 1979 watershed. As such, it demonstrates how shifts in housing policy, and broader political, economic and social developments, came to bear on a working-class community - for good and, more especially, for ill.
As the former capital of two great empires-Eastern Roman and Ottoman-Istanbul has been home to many diverse populations, a condition often glossed as cosmopolitanism. The Greek-speaking Christian Orthodox community (Rum Polites) is among the oldest in the urban society, yet their leading status during the centuries of imperial cosmopolitanism has faded. They have even been brought to the brink of disappearance in their home city. Scattered around the world as a result of the homogenizing tendencies of nationalism, the Rum Polites in the diaspora of Istanbul ("the City" or Poli) continue to identify with its cosmopolitan legacy, as vividly shown through their everyday practices of distinction and cultural memory. By exploring the shifting meaning of cosmopolitanism in spatial and temporal contexts, Diaspora of the City examines how experiences of forced displacement can highlight changing conceptualizations of what constitutes a local, diasporic, minority, or migrant community in different multicultural urban settings, past and present.