Commodification of Urban Space and the Image of ‘New’ Istanbul
Decoding the prevailing discourse
Keywords:city, urbanism, new İstanbul, commodification of space, role of architecture, ideology, transformation
This study aims to identify the urban transformation strategy implemented in Istanbul for the last 15 years as a tool to promote the ‘new’ city discourse. This marking strategy leads to a thoroughly manipulated or re-written urban texture, constructed through concepts of identity, context and historicism. By decoding its actors, their roles, and branding images of five selected urban projects which relied on a top-down approach, the research exposes the implicit and explicit targets behind the political discourse of ‘new’ İstanbul. Through a qualitative content analysis of branding images and promotional media, the research focuses on the unseen agenda of the governing authority concerning the urban image and the state economy, which, on the contrary, undermines legitimate laws covering disaster mitigation. The conceptual framework of the study draws on Tafuri’s (1969) seminal article "Toward a Critique of Architectural Ideology" to deepen our examination of the leading forces of urban ideology that are reshaping the city. The article aims to spark a debate over the ‘new’ Istanbul discourse and its planning practices through its re-reading of urban projects, the field of architecture and planning, development strategies, and their relevant actors.
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