Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality

Zoom through underground roadways and over a reconstructed Ottoman barrack in this video of the yet-to-be-built Taksim Project, a major rejiggering of Istanbul's central park.

The pulsing heart of Istanbul, Taksim Square, is about to undergo an operation that will make it all but unrecognizable to many Turks.

Gone will be the honking mix of cars weaving through an estimated 2 million pedestrians who visit the square each day; in the redesigned plaza, automobiles will travel through a complicated series of subterranean tunnels. A vast chunk of green area will disappear, paved over with concrete and tiles. And an Ottoman military barrack that hasn't existed on the spot since the 1940s will rise again, although this time around it will house not soldiers but likely cultural exhibits and tony cafes.

Construction is set to commence on the Taksim Project this year as part of the Turkish government's strenuous push for urban renewal. As with any major civic project, critics have come out in full force, decrying Taksim's transformation into a "soulless, concrete desert." They do seem to have a point: While it would definitely be a bigger delight to stroll across the area without today's thick auto fumes stinging the nostrils, the rejiggered square loses its loveable, chaotic character and stretches toward the horizon like an empty Walmart parking lot. As for that buried labyrinth of streets, drivers navigating it for the first time should carry a good map.

But judge for yourself: Below, find images of the current Taksim and the Taksim of the Future. And below that find a nifty animation showing what it would be like to traverse the redesigned square, both over land and underground.

Today's Taksim, courtesy of Google Maps and Wikipedia's Bertilvidet:

Here is the new Taksim Project, as envisioned by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality:

The virtual tour of the Taksim Project (and a simulation of how fun it is to drive through an opposing lane of traffic):

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    You Can’t Design Bike-Friendly Cities Without Considering Race and Class

    Bike equity is a powerful tool for reducing inequality. Too often, cycling infrastructure is tailored only to wealthy white cyclists.

  2. Transportation

    With Trains Like Schwebebahn, No Wonder Germans Love Public Transit

    Infrastructure like this makes it clear why Germany continues to produce enthusiasm for public transit, generation after generation.

  3. Amazon HQ2

    Without Amazon HQ2, What Happens to Housing in Queens?

    The arrival of the tech company’s new headquarters was set to shake up the borough’s real estate market, driving up rents and spurring displacement. Now what?

  4. Amazon HQ2

    New York’s Ejection of Amazon Is the Start of a Movement

    NYC lawmakers who led a resistance campaign against HQ2 are declaring victory. And already, they have plans to escalate their opposition to tax incentives.

  5. A photo of a visitor posing for a photo with Elvis in downtown Nashville
    Perspective

    Cities: Don’t Fall in the Branding Trap

    From Instagram stunts to Edison bulbs, why do so many cities’ marketing plans try to convince people that they’re exactly like somewhere else?