Squatter housing (called gecekondu in Turkish) has been the central element of urban discussions in Turkey since the beginning of the 1950s. However, the solutions to this problem have changed over time. Until the mid-1960s, governments had a negative attitude to squatter housing areas and their populations, seeing them as the sources of social ills in the urban system. Thus, renewal was defined as clearance and redevelopment. However, this situation changed in the 1970s, preparing the necessary ground for rehabilitation and upgrading. In contrast, in the 1980s renewal was evaluated in a global context and equaled regeneration. So, following the 1980s, squatter housing areas have again been considered as problem areas which have to be transformed for the capitalization of global interests, in the name of urban rent. These areas could have been transformed into prestige areas to increase the physical and visual wealth of the city. Thus, first with the improvement plans and later with the urban transformation projects, squatter housing areas have been subject to urban renewal for the betterment of urban space. This study aims to compare these two different squatter housing transformation approaches from the point of view of their impact on the physical and social topography of Ankara, the capital city of Turkey. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.