Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, 24th ISUF 2017 - City and Territory in the Globalization Age

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Henri Prost in Istanbul: Urban transformation process of Taksim-Maçka Valley (Le parc n°2)
Pelin Bolca, Rosa Tamborrino, Fulvio Rinaudo

Last modified: 14-05-2018


With the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in October 1923, modernization studies have been started throughout the country. The Republican authorities which adopted a new form of government independent of the Ottoman Empire had expectations for the city planning of Turkey according to the modernization rules of urbanism. After the proclamation of the Republic, the capital of the country was relocated from Istanbul to Ankara and the funds of the Republic were canalized to the construction of the new capital city. Following the creation of Ankara, in 1935, French architect and urban planner Henri Prost was invited directly to conduct the planning of Istanbul.  He worked between 1936 and 1951 with a conservative and modernist attitude. Prost’s plans for Istanbul was based on three principal issues: the transportation (la  circulation), hygiene (l’hygiène) and aesthetics (l’aesthetics). He gave importance on urban and public spaces (espaces libres) and proposed two public parks. One of these parks was considered as an archaeological park at the hearth of the Historical Peninsula (parc n1), the other one was considered as a park with cultural, arts and sports functions into the hearth of the Pera district which was the area extending from today’s Taksim Square to Maçka Valley (parc n2) and wherein these days the modern and new city was built. Only Park No2 (parc n2) was partially constructed in the 1940s following these park plans. However, the park has been transformed by the planning decisions taken over time depending on the political, cultural and ideological changes and this transformation process has been intensively discussed by the academic and professional field on the Istanbul’s and Turkey’s urban agenda.


The focus of this study is to understand and define the process of transformation, and investigate the changing of significances of the Taksim-Maçka Valley from foundation of the Republic of Turkey to the present time. Accordingly, the first part of the paper presents the formation process of the area through the 1:2000 plan of Park No2 (parc n2) and the 1:500 plan of The Republic Square and the İnönü Esplanade in Taksim (la place de la République et l'esplanade İnönü à Taksim) which were prepared by Henri Prost. In the second part, the  transformation process that occurs after Prost was discharged from his position is analyzed. The paper concludes with a discussion on the pros and cons of the transformation. In the study, the “digital urban history method” (telling the history of the city in the age of the ICT revolution) was used through the power of various direct and indirect sources with ArcGIS and 3D modeling techniques.

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