Counter urban transformation in Istanbul Beyoglu
Author(s)Uzunyayla, Sakine Dicle
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
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Urban transformation has become central to the Turkish government's neo-liberal program of commercial development for Istanbul. These transformations have provoked public discontent and passionate responses, the largest to date being a protest against a proposed urban transformation which in May 2013 erupted in Taksim Square, in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul. In the spirit of that protest, this thesis seeks to elaborate and apply the idea of counter urban transformation as a means of reinvesting citizens with agency in shaping their urban environment. This project relies on the creation of an alternative space in which alternative approaches to urban life can be presented and heard: it is therefore both a philosophical and a practical project. Philosophically, it is premised on observation of Beyoglu's past and present, and of the way its cosmopolitan inhabitants interact and collaborate in urban life. This vision is presented as an open-ended contrast to the authoritarian, capitalistic, and depersonalizing vision offered by so-called urban transformation. Practically, it offers a concrete and articulated means of counter urban transformation through the lawful occupation of vacant properties in Beyoglu, a strategy which aims to delay or halt future urban transformations. This means is offered in the form of a manual appended to the body of the thesis. The manual catalogs 80 vacant properties in Beyoglu whose occupation would be of strategic value. It contains detailed and accurate maps, architectural representations and vital facts, vignettes which display the numerous possibilities of each property, and instructions on how lawfully to occupy the properties. It is hoped that some courageous citizens will take up this project, and in doing so will set a considerable obstacle in the way of state-led urban transformation, raise consciousness and morale, and help the public claim their agency and determine for themselves the shape of their city.
Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Architecture, 2014.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 29-30).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology