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Young Scholars: A Century of Urban Transformation: Istanbul’s Evolution

April 18 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Yunus Emre Institute London is delighted to announce its upcoming Young Scholar Seminar Series talk: “A Century of Urban Transformation: Istanbul’s Evolution “, by Mahmud Sami Karahasanoğlu. The talk will take place on Thursday 18th April 2024 at 7 pm UK Time.

A Century of Urban Transformation: Istanbul’s Evolution

In the wake of Turkiye’s hard-fought independence, a nation rallied to catch up with the industrial age. The cities, residential areas, industrial structures, and infrastructure were unprepared, ill-equipped for the task at hand. Not only were the plans incomplete, but the country also faced financial constraints. In pursuit of industrial progress, Turkiye made a collective decision to engage all its citizens.

Emergence of New Districts: Overnight, new districts sprang forth, fuelled by necessity. Haphazard urbanization spread. As industrialisation progressed, the once-historical visage of the cities began to blur. Simultaneously, policymakers and legislators worked to address the movement’s shortcomings. However, the primary motivation behind enforcing building codes often encouraged by electoral goals.

Slums to Gated Communities: Over time, cities sprouted slums that would later give way to apartment complexes that were built without any design oversight. This transformation led to a shift in urbanization, with each election cycle adding another layer and storey to these evolving structures. Over the years, crafted city plans gave way to a transformation. Apartments stepped aside and became gated communities and high-rise structures. The cityscape shifted at a pace unforeseen, reshaping not only the physical contours but also the very essence of our urban character, face, and culture. The very aspirations of transforming urban spaces into a better, nature-friendly, and livable city abused by politicians, citizens, and bureaucrats.

Istanbul’s Tale: This century-old story etched into the very fabric of Turkiye’s major cities. Today, our spotlight falls on Istanbul. We’ll delve into its evolution, uncovering the forces that shaped it and the ongoing efforts to safeguard its essence—the face, character, and culture. As we explore Istanbul’s story, we’ll also cast our gaze toward futuristic global solutions aimed at preserving not only Istanbul but all historical cities which face similar threads.

Beyond the Bosphorus, we cast our gaze toward other global cities. Could this tale repeat itself elsewhere? Might its trajectory echo across interconnected urban landscapes? And perhaps, even in London?

Join us as we unravel the threads of time, weaving a tapestry that binds us all.


Mahmud Sami Karahasanoğlu received his BA in architecture from Yeditepe University in Istanbul. He studied passive solar architecture at Bahçeşehir University, where he obtained his master’s degree in the performance analysis of passive solar buildings. Mahmud Sami has worked as an architect in Istanbul, Turkey, and Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. He has also taught classes at the university on passive architecture and architectural design projects. He is focused on political engagements that shape city planning and has taken roles in non-governmental organizations focused on social sociology and politics. Currently, Mahmud Sami works as an architect at CEVV and is pursuing a PhD in city planning at Sabahattin Zaim University in Istanbul.

Date: Thursday 18th April 2024
Time: 7 pm
VenueYunus Emre Institute in London, 10 Maple Street, London, W1T 5HA

Traditional Turkish Refreshments will be served.

Admission is FREE but registration*** is ESSENTIAL via Eventbrite.

This talk forms part of the Young Scholar Seminar Series organised by Yunus Emre Institute in London.


April 18
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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Yunus Emre Institute London
10 Maple Street London
London, London W1T 5HA United Kingdom
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