Istanbul: Today, Tomorrow?

In this talk, the contemporary state of Istanbul will be explicated basically through the concepts of “planetary urbanization” and “city-region,” and future urban and regional possibilities will be analyzed regarding population, habitation patterns and the infrastructure of mobilities. Istanbul today is the hearth of the country in economic, cultural, political, social, and demographic aspects and it is the hub-city of Turkey through which the country is connected to the rest of the world in material and symbolic ways. Coping with deep urban and environmental problems including but not limited to congested traffic, illegally-informally built housing, insufficient green spaces, decreasing public places, low air quality, grave social inequality and scarce clean water resources, 2010s’ Istanbul also faces with the fatal risk of a great earthquake and its devastating aftermath. Governed by Islamist parties since 1994, its population increased dramatically none of the structural problems that the metropolitan area has been solved. Districts are polarized politically and culturally, contested urban transformation and regeneration projects seem unplanned and uncoordinated, and the mega-projects imposed by the state such as the new airport and the third bridge over the Bosphorus are deemed dysfunctional. The talk will address all these current issues of public debate and will portrait a precursory urban map in which the city is expected to be located in the future.