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. Life

    The Death and Life of the 13-Month Calendar

    Favored by leaders in transportation and logistics, the International Fixed Calendar was a favorite of Kodak founder George Eastman, whose company used it until 1989.

  2. a map of future climate risks in the U.S.
    Maps

    America After Climate Change, Mapped

    With “The 2100 Project: An Atlas for A Green New Deal,” the McHarg Center tries to visualize how the warming world will reshape the United States.

  3. photo: a Tower Records Japan Inc. store in Tokyo, Japan.
    Life

    The Bankrupt American Brands Still Thriving in Japan

    Cultural cachet, licensing deals, and density explain why Toys ‘R’ Us, Tower Records, Barneys, and other faded U.S. retailers remain big across the Pacific.

  4. photo: A man boards a bus in Kansas City, Missouri.
    Transportation

    Why Kansas City’s Free Transit Experiment Matters

    The Missouri city is the first major one in the U.S. to offer no-cost public transportation. Will a boost in subsidized mobility pay off with economic benefits?

  5. photo: a commuter looks at a small map of the London Tube in 2009
    Maps

    Help! The London Tube Map Is Out of Control.

    It’s never been easy to design a map of the city’s underground transit network. But soon, critics say, legibility concerns will demand a new look.

×