Urban projects of 80′s and transformation of Golden Horn

As the coup d’état on September 12th of 1980 had been a turning point where history of Turkey ceased a certain direction, a complete new direction had been headed with post-coup d’état policies. ANAP (Motherland Party) had come up with victory from the first election after military coup. The following year’s local elections had marked the milieu of city history when ANAP doubled its victory which had launched the mayoralty of Bedrettin Dalan in Istanbul. New government embraced IMF policies quickly and neo-liberal formation of country had reflected itself with the eagerness of Turkey in becoming the new emerging force of the region in a global context. It was such a context that new ambitious mayor of İstanbul had been developing major urban projects and enforcing such projects into city by advocating his arguments via mass media communication tools. What distinguished such urban transformation from Western examples was; its formation process that is initiated by the government’s will on participating private sector but lack of preparing sustainable projects. Even projects were considered as sustainable by the major and the officials,  in terms of conservation of historical sites and organization of implementing new socio-economic policies were inefficient that projects of 1980s to attract private sector has resulted with massive changes on the character of buildings, urban spaces and spatial practices of Golden Horn.

What this study aims is either to investigate possible answers or to articulate/ speculate on following questions:
– what are the social and spatial relations that formed Golden Horn during 80s?
– what are the main effects of the implementation of these projects on the character of historical urban site?
– if analyzed/evaluated on city scale, what is the role of these projects on transformation of İstanbul during 80’s?

In order to clarify the subject, a systematic approach to the movie of Roman Polanski,  “Chinatown” was used to highlight the role of power relations during the process of transformation. To reach such an aim; a method similar to that of Jake Gittes (protagonist) is embraced; being attracted to beauty of the image of a femme fatale (which is Golden Horn in this case) and while getting closer to her step by step; figuring out a complete mess of power relations where a city is transformed.

BIO | Mesut Dinler is an architect and a grad student in “Conservation of Historic Monuments and Sites” program in Middle East Technical University. He is writing his master thesis entitled “A Comparative Study to Evaluate Effects of Politics on Conservation: on Conservation of Fener and Balat Districts”. He participated several projects (master studio), workshops, an archaeological excavation and worked as an architect in some architectural conservation projects in various companies. He is currently a research Student in Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University.

BIO | Elif Selena Ayhan has her bachelor’s degree in “Urban Design and Landscape Architecture” and master’s in architecture. Her master’s thesis “Cinematic Cities and Images of Urban Spaces: an architectural approach to cinema as representation and construction of space” was mainly analysing the reciprocal interaction between cinema and city space. Since 2009, she has been a Ph.D. student in “Conservation of Historic Monuments and Sites” program at Middle East Technical University. Her primary research interests focus on characteristics of public/open spaces in historical sites and their transformation throughout centuries.


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