September 19 2011

“The Making Of – Plans for Beyoğlu” with Hans Venhuizen: Becoming Istanbul at SALT Beyoğlu

On September 17, 2011, Hans Venhuizen moderated The Making of – Plans for Beyoğlu at SALT Beyoğlu. At this event, which ran from 2:00-5:30pm, we discussed Istanbul’s historic Beyoğlu district, the same district that is home to touristic areas such as Taksim Square and Galata Tower, among others. The Beyoğlu area was named a historic district in 1993, however, it took a staggering 17 years to publish the first draft of a site master plan for Beyoğlu. In 2009, the first draft was provided to the public, and since then, in 2011, a second draft was released.  Akif Burak Atlar, among the participants at The Making of Plans for Beyoğlu, presented workshop participants with a visual of the current Beyoğlu Master Plan and described the gaps, areas that are not included in the site plan because they are regulated by a separate City entity.

The Making Of game, which was the framework for the workshop, was first drafted in 2001 by Hans Venhuizen. In an interview, Hans stated, “I’ve been using [The Making Of game] in my work, as a tool, when it fits. During the past ten years I’ve played around 80 rounds in different formats, versions, and sizes. Sometimes [the game] is directly anchored in planning process, sometimes in an advisory role, or as a workshop method for innovative thinking and debating a specific situation.” The Making Of is an innovative way to have all types of participants included in the planning process, those with an urban planning or environmental design background, and those without. “The games are also open for various roles, [such as] participant, introduction speaker, commentator, jury member, jury advisor, or privileged lobbyist,” stated moderator Hans Venhuizen.

When everyone arrived we awaited instruction from Hans and each of us were provided a colored card; either yellow, purple, green, red, or blue. According to the color on the card, that is the team that we would join. I incidentally became part of “Team Red,” accompanied by Akif Burak Atlar, the Secretary of the Board of the Istanbul Branch Chamber of Urban Planners, and Müge Yorgancı, also on the Board of the Istanbul Chamber of Urban Planners. My luck must have been pretty good that day; having two members of the Istanbul Chamber of Urban Planners.

We were described the mission of the game; come up with an innovative plan, concept, that will win over the other teams. Hans commented that there “were no difficulties in adapting the framework [of The Making Of game to Istanbul].” Rather, because “Turkey does not (yet) have a very transparent planning culture, most work was in gathering the information that the ambitions and phenomena [were based upon], and SALT did a good job there,” continued Hans.

Ambitions and Phenomena for “The Making of – Plans for Beyoglu” (described fully at this PDF link) were created in part by Meric Oner, of SALT, they included:


  • Muhatap;
  • Re-Frame;
  • Just Be You in Beyoğlu;
  • Souvenirköy;
  • People of Property.


  • Unmistakably Ours;
  • Fest;
  • Compromise;
  • Self Investor: Do it Yourself;
  • Şişhane’deki Gibi.

Each team was provided two butcher sheet papers that described both an ambition and a phenomena of Beyoğlu. Teams were provided 30 minutes to construct an idea based upon one of the two butcher paper choices, where a chosen ambition and phenomena intersected. After developing our ideas, we then presented to all the groups, after which each team voted on the least convincing concepts. The teams then, one-by-one, defended their concept in order to win the game.

Upon defense, the jury voted, with their voting card, either in favor, a green “Evet,” or against , a red “Hayir,” of the ideas presented, which led the team to be closer or further from winning. The final blow came when an additional dynamic was thrown-in. The Lobby. We were each given lobby cards and then distributed the cards amongst the teams, based purely on personal choice or bias. The team with the most lobby power would then have their “Xs” removed and would be closer to winning. Although the purple team was one of the least convincing concepts of the teams, because of their lobby power, they inevitably won the game. Congratulations to Team Purple!!

Over the course of Becoming Istanbul, held at SALT, there will be The Making Of workshop every two weeks, each on a Saturday. Hans will lead another three sessions in English and there will be an additional four workshops held in Turkish, led by Hans’s partner, Mustafa Tazeoğlu. Full details for Turkish and English The Making Of events can be found here or on the SALT Facebook event page.

The following English language events will take place; and I look forward to covering them:

Hans is open to any initiatives that would like to use The Making Of game in Istanbul. If your group would like to do a The Making Of workshop, while Hans is in Istanbul, please do not hesitate contacting him. And for more information regarding The Making Of, purchase Hans Venhuizen’s book Game Urbanism or a chapter from the book describing The Making Of.

Did you take part in The Making Of – Plans for Beyoğlu or another The Making Of game? We would love to hear your thoughts.

Stay tuned for coverage of The Making Of – Taksim Belongs to Pedestrians.

Renée van Staveren

Renée van Staveren is the Founder of Global Site Plans. She holds a M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She also holds a B.S. in Sustainable Community Development from Prescott College. Prior to establishing Global Site Plans and The Grid, Renée van Staveren was an Assistant Planner for A-M-M-A Transit Planning and the Program Director for Planet Green. In June 2014 Renée moved from Istanbul, Turkey, where she'd lived for four years, to return to the beautiful city of San Francisco. She is now a Manager at the Urban Land Institute's San Francisco District Council. You can find her at one of their many events, so pop in and say hello.

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This entry was posted on Monday, September 19th, 2011 at 10:02 am and is filed under Architecture, Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture, Renée van Staveren, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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