Imagining a Center for Istanbul/Imagining Istanbul from the Center: Taksim Square and Gezi Park

A lecture by Orhan Esen, Architecture and Urban Planning, Istanbul Bilgi University.

Just over six months ago, Istanbul erupted in protest over plans to build an Ottoman style shopping center in the middle of one of the city’s few remaining parks. In his talk, Orhan Esen will examine how Taksim became a central urban space within the context of late Ottoman modernization projects and its subsequent refashioning during the early Republican period of the 1930s. He will then situate the recent protests within a longer history of contestation over the square and its use by the denizens of Istanbul.

Orhan Esen is an urban researcher and historian, who teaches in the architecture and urban planning department at Istanbul Bilgi University. He is a founding member of The Taksim Platform and a member of The International Network for Urban Research and Action. His primary research interests are understanding the dynamics of urban change in Istanbul and the cultural, social, political, and ecological consequences of rapid urbanization.  Esen also specializes in giving educational tours of Istanbul that read the city’s history through its built environment. In 2005 he published a co-edited book entitled Istanbul: Self-Service City, which examines the impact of neo-liberalism on life in Istanbul.

Sponsor(s): Center for Near Eastern StudiesDepartment of History, The Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in United States History, The History Graduate Students Association

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Duration: 1:13:37

Published: Friday, January 10, 2014