Urbanista on Istanbul

I came across an interesting blog titled PLACEBLOG, with a link to a series of Urbanista columns written by Linda Carroli, begun in 2009 and running through 2011 (not sure it the column has stopped or if it just hasn’t been updated in a while).

I reproduce her column on Istanbul which you can read in the original context here.

Istanbul :: cultural heritage in a changing city

by Linda Carroli
Arts Hub, March 2011

Graffiti in Beyoğlu, Istanbul

During the opening remarks of the Sea of Marble Symposium at the repurposed warehouse Antrepo 5 in Istanbul, one of the speakers declares “the city is being erased right now”. This conversation, which addressed considerations of culture and the sea, repeatedly folded back into anxieties about the state of cities, particularly their waterfronts and ports, encroached upon by ‘neo-liberal’ reclamation of the land for privilege and profit in the name of urban renewal entangled in the rhetoric of creative cities. As another speaker asserts, this idea of the ‘creative city’ is false because the powers that drive these forces of change “steal our imagination”. Istanbul’s mayor, Kadir Topbaş, has said, “Istanbul should shed its industrial profile … Istanbul should, from now on, become a financial centre, a cultural centre, and a congress tourism centre.” Reflecting the wintery sky, the waters of the Bosphoros, buoying a chaotic flotilla of fishing boats, tankers and freighters, are like liquid steel lapping against the shores of the walled city. In the parks and crevices around those walls, the city’s homeless and destitute gather.

Teeming with nearly 13 million people, there is unsettlement in this city that seems perennially jostled in the tensions between destruction and creation, past and future, east and Continue reading