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Urban Development as Politics of Performance: Istanbul's Transformation under the AKP

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Thursday, December 04, 2014
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Sibel Bozdogan
Rethinking Global Cities

Although the tendency of national governments to see urbanism as a form of visual politics and to imprint their own will on urban space without accountability, transparency or popular participation is nothing new in Istanbul's modern urban history in the 20th century, AKP's particular brand of combining Turkey's strong state tradition with global neo-liberal urban development trends is entirely novel. Since 2002, a series of highly controversial urban transformation/gentrification schemes and infrastructural mega-projects have been dramatically altering the urban landscape of a unique world city, threatening its historical heritage, collective memory, environmental sustainability, and norms of social justice in unprecedented ways. This talk will offer an overview of these spatial practices, to argue that AKP's ingenious and mostly effective strategy of framing the state¿s powerful agency in the making of capitalist real estate markets within a populist discourse of performance, development and public service not only explains the seemingly unstoppable electoral success of AKP on both national and municipal levels but also preempts criticism and dissent.Sibel Bozdogan is a Lecturer in History of Architecture and Urbanism at Harvard University, and Professor and Chair, Department of Architecture, at Kadir Has University.

Contact: Kelly Schwehm