GSD 4401 Istanbul: From Imperial Capital to Global City
Professor Sibel Bozdogan
Since the Islamic conquest in 1453, Istanbul’s urban character has developed in distinct periods, rendered visible in multiple styles of cartography. This project attempts to understand the history of the city’s macroform through two lenses: first, the transformation of urban preoccupations, from monument to urban fabric, to infrastructure, and finally to tourism, and second, the tracing of historical methods of mapping, from three-dimensional to two-dimensional, and back again. This particular understanding of history occurs in a visual format, where the various mapping styles are applied to their appropriate historical periods along a timeline of the city’s broad urban metamorphosis. In this way, we are able to see Istanbul’s growth and changes within the bias of cartographic representation. This format provides a comprehensive view of changes in Istanbul, and allows overlaps in mapping styles and developmental focus to emerge between major eras.
From the 1980s to today, Istanbul has, like other major cities of the world, become globalized. In this sense, it engages in international economic markets and is connected through rail, air, and cyberspace to its surroundings. The 21st century map highlights the explosive horizontal growth the city has sustained, and zooms in on swatches of contemporary urban fabric, available through satellite imagery. In addition, the map of today shows an example of three-dimensional tourist maps, making landmarks in the city conceptually accessible for the globalized audience. The project in its entirety functions as a document of growth, contextualizing it within the different realms of representation that accompany periodic shifts in Istanbul’s urban history.