Considering the urgent need for intervention in areas affected by problems such as gecekondu settlement and earthquake risk, redevelopment is inevitable in Istanbul. Such interventions, however, have proven problematic in meeting the local community's needs. There is a gap between the Istanbul experience and Western-in particular Western European-redevelopment practices, after which the Turkish experience has been modelled. The study aims to fill this gap through a review of these practices, a close examination of the hands-on redevelopment experience, and the lessons derived from two pioneering redevelopment projects in Istanbul: the gecekondu renewal of Ayazma-Tepeustu and the earthquake-based regeneration in Sumer. 26 in-depth interviews were carried out with actors who influenced redevelopment decisions and those who were influenced by them. Data triangulation was employed to compare the two cases and reveal conflicting opinions and claims. Based on insights from informed practitioners (i.e. central government and metropolitan-level housing providers, local municipalities, and NGOs) and residents, the article analyzes the physical, financial, and community aspects of local redevelopment projects. It then derives policy sets for the planning of multi-level redevelopment and social housing practices as suggested by the project practitioners and community. This study argues that whether focused on renewal, regeneration, transformation, slum removal, or earthquake preparedness, redevelopment activities should pursue planning policies at both the general and local levels when designing a project and take into consideration the affected community's inclusion and wellbeing in corresponding policies, including those of social housing.