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Imagining Istanbul from the Centre: Taksim

A talk by Orhan Esen

June 12, 2013

SALT Beyoğlu, İstiklâl Caddesi No. 136, Beyoğlu

With the Gezi Park protests in Taksim Square the only thing on the minds of Istanbullites for the past week, a talk by urban researcher and guide Orhan Esen seems timely.

He will examine the history of Taksim within the context of modernisation, analysing the square’s role as a central point of the city from the beginning of the 19th century to modern day. The cause for protests – the destruction of the park to build Artillery Barracks and a shopping mall – will be the main subject of his talk, which he will take from an economic perspective.

Esen, who studied social and economic history, and also history of art and architecture in Istanbul and Vienna, is interested in how aspects of a city – whether its transportion, housing, the physical environment or the city’s identity – interact with one another to provide city dwellers reasonable conditions to live. His research of Istanbul, in particular, shows his interest extending beyond the city’s legend and historical sights and move into its existing condition and ‘mediocrities’. His research has been compiled in Self Service City: Istanbul, a 2005 publication he wrote with Stephan Lanz.

The talk will be presented in English.

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