Istanbul: From Imperial Capital to Global City

This lecture/seminar offers an overview of Istanbul\’s urban/architectural transformations in the last two centuries, situating these developments within both the historical dynamics of modern Turkey and the broader trans-national context of the region and the world at large. In particular, four distinct periods will be covered, marked by important political-social-cultural shifts and the introduction of new urban visions, with corresponding changes in the city\’s skyline, macro form, landscape and overall urban aesthetics: 1) late Ottoman reforms in urban administration, infrastructure and transportation, accompanied by the cosmopolitan architecture of fin de siecle Istanbul; 2) early republican transformations in the 1930s and 1940s: the master plan of Henri Prost and the new public spaces of secular modernity; 3) post-WWII urban interventions and the onset of massive migration, speculative apartment boom and squatter developments transforming Istanbul from a \”shore city\” to a \”hinterland city\” and 4) \”branding\” of Istanbul as a global city since the 1980s: trans-national spaces of consumption, gated communities and suburban sprawl. Lectures will be supplemented by discussion of selected texts, projects and case studies. Course requirements are weekly readings and a site-specific historical research/urban analysis project to be presented in class and to be submitted as a term paper. The primary objective of the course is to investigate the complex, hybrid and contested urban history and geography of a unique world city in the context of imperial, national and global politics.