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September 20 2012

Urban Gentrification vis-à-vis Real Estate Prices: The Tarlabaşı Renewal Project in Istanbul, Turkey

September 20th, 2012Posted by 

7,500 American Dollars per m2 is the price you have to pay if you want an office near the most important square of Istanbul. Seems reasonable, right? Until recently though, the area where the office is located was occupied by people in the poorest portion of the population, and the neighborhood’s name was associated with […]

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September 06 2012

Politics vs. Culture: Municipality’s Rally Square Project in Yenikapi, Istanbul, Turkey

September 6th, 2012Posted by 

A 8,500 year-old archaeological site is not a common element that one comes across in a metropolitan area. In the Yenikapi neighborhood in Istanbul, 35 Byzantine ships were uncovered making the site the home to the biggest ship collection ever excavated, claiming the record from the Danish Nord ships. In addition, a 8,500 year-old Neolithic […]

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August 23 2012

Architecture as a Political Tool: Proposed Plan for the Biggest Mosque Ever Made, Istanbul, Turkey

August 23rd, 2012Posted by 

Works of architecture that are aimed for the public almost always bear political connotations. However, when incompetence in understanding the relationship between architecture and public use is present in those who are in charge, outcomes are, to say the least, funny. The most recent example I have seen is the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip […]

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August 09 2012

Favela-City Exchange: What Can We Learn from the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro?

August 9th, 2012Posted by 

I was fortunate enough to see a very insightful exhibition called Favela-City Exchange on the future of the favelas (squatter settlements) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, prepared by the architecture and urban planning group, Urban Think Tank (UTT), based in ETH Zurich. A little background on UTT: UTT, led by the architects Alfredo Brillembourg and […]

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July 26 2012

A Day at the Brazil’s Largest Favela, Rocinha in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

July 26th, 2012Posted by 

I am in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for a 6-week long program, and my next two posts will be on the urban planning issues of Rio. Rio de Janeiro is known, among other things, for its urban poverty and squatter settlements (or in the Brazilian case favelas). I have had a chance to visit the […]

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July 12 2012

Court Order to Stop the Urban Renewal Project on the Famous Romani Neighbourhood Sulukule, in Istanbul, Turkey

July 12th, 2012Posted by 

Recently, a very important decision has been made that could set up a milestone on how the slum areas in Istanbul, Turkey are treated by the authorities in charge of urban renewal. Sulukule neighborhood, in Istanbul, which used to house a Romani community, was demolished and its residents were relocated to public housing projects built […]

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June 28 2012

Watersheds and A City’s Existence: Problems in Watershed Use and Protection in Istanbul, Turkey

June 28th, 2012Posted by 

Needless to say, water is essential to sustain human life, and every human being has the right to have access to water. Therefore, in urban areas where great numbers of people are agglomerated, water is a critical issue. In Istanbul there are 8 watersheds, 5 being on the European side and 3 on the Asian […]

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June 14 2012

An Architectural Analysis of Mass Housing Administration’s (MHA) Urban Renewal Projects in Istanbul, Turkey

June 14th, 2012Posted by 

In a special advertorial sponsored by Turkey’s Mass Housing Administration (MHA) in one of the issues of the UN-HABITAT’s Urban World magazine, MHA states that transforming existing slums “makes up approximately 10 percent of our total housing development. […] Moreover, it should be emphasized that wherever we build housing, we take into consideration the great […]

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May 31 2012

From Top-Down to Bottom-Up in Urban Planning: How your Firm or Agency Can Benefit From Crowdsourcing

May 31st, 2012Posted by 

When Le Corbusier made his famous Plan Voisin proposal in 1925, he was basically designing, not just a city, but an ideal life for the users who were going to live there. That’s how the concept of “towers in a park” came about, and it parceled the urban planning programs all over the world in […]

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May 16 2012

Urban Relocation in Istanbul, Turkey: What is Being Done Wrong?

May 16th, 2012Posted by 

Urban relocation is often used, whether justifiably or not, as a part of the urban renewal project of Istanbul in its endeavor to become a “world-city.” As the main actor to carry out urban renewal projects, Mass Housing Administration has the authority to relocate squatter communities whenever it’s deemed appropriate, and usually these communities are relocated to […]

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May 02 2012

New Conceptions on the Link Between Rural and Urban Development

May 2nd, 2012Posted by 

There is a strong paradigm shift in the literature recently, on how rural development and urban development affect one another. The conventional wisdom of the last three decades suggests that urban and rural developments are separate and compete with each other for resources. However, a closer looks reveals that this is far from the truth. […]

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April 18 2012

Current Debates Over the Planning of Taksim Square, Istanbul, Turkey

April 18th, 2012Posted by 

Taksim Square, in Istanbul, Turkey, is one of the liveliest public spaces in the city. It was a part of the modernization project of the newly-formed republic in the late 1930s. Like many other parts of the city, it was based on the plans of Henri Prost, the prominent representative of the French school of […]

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