ISTANBUL: The city too big to fail

New emphasis on sustainability and resilience  from the Urban Age team

As Urban Age changes its focus to Istanbul, Deyan Sudjic frames the city’s urban history through cultural, economic and political comparisons with global cities around the world.

Skyline of IstanbulPlaying host to several civilisations and empires, Istanbul’s silhouette is defined by minarets, spires, columns and more and more tall buildings. The historical peninsula sits at the intersection of the Marmara Sea, the Bosporus and the Golden Horn.

Istanbul is a city as beautiful as Venice or San Francisco, and, once you are away from the water, as brutal and ugly as any metropolis undergoing the trauma of warp speed urbanisation. It is a place in which to sit under the shade of ancient pines and palm trees for a leisurely afternoon watching sun on water, looking out over the Bosporus. But also, in some parts, to tread very carefully. Istanbul has as many layers of history beneath the foundations of its buildings as any city in Europe. In 2010, it will become the European Cultural Capital. Depending on how you count, Istanbul has been the capital city of three, or perhaps four, empires. It is still shaped by the surviving fragments of Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman civilisations. It has Orthodox Christian churches, Sunni mosques, and Sephardic synagogues. It has vast classical cisterns, ring upon ring of ancient fortifications, souks and palaces. It also has desolate concrete suburbs of extraordinary bleakness, urban terrorism, and a rootless, dispossessed underclass struggling to come to terms with city life.

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2 thoughts on “ISTANBUL: The city too big to fail”

  1. The world population has doubled within the last 60 years. The demands for energy and goods have enormously raised…
    I believe that the attempt to create more sustainable cities can actually help our environment and the economy, as well as make big cities more livable for the citizens. I searched the web a little and lots of companies are now focusing on developing new technologies and changing the appearance of large cities. Siemens, for instance, has just launched a new website: http://www.usa.siemens.com/sustainablecities/index.html

  2. Istanbul has as many layers of history beneath the foundations of its buildings as any city in Europe. I searched the web a little and lots of companies are now focusing on developing new technologies and changing the appearance of large cities.Daily rental house & residence in istanbul / turkey günlük daire today.

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