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. Warren Logan
    Transportation

    A City Planner Makes a Case for Rethinking Public Consultation

    Warren Logan, a Bay Area transportation planner, has new ideas about how to truly engage diverse communities in city planning. Hint: It starts with listening.

  2. an aerial view of Los Angeles shows the complex of freeways, new construction, familiar landmarks, and smog in 1962.
    Transportation

    The Problem With Amazon’s Cheap Gas Stunt

    The company promoted its TV show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel with a day of throwback 1959-style prices in Los Angeles. What could go wrong?

  3. a photo of the L.A. Metro Expo Line extension
    Life

    Why Can’t I Take Public Transit to the Beach?

    In the U.S., getting to the beach usually means driving. But some sandy shores can still be reached by train, subway, and bus.

  4. a photo of the Eiffel Tower with the words "Made for Sharing" projected on it
    Life

    How France Tries to Keep English Out of Public Life

    France has a long history of using official institutions to protect the French language from outside influence. Still, English keeps working its way in.

  5. Maps

    The Map That Made Los Angeles Make Sense

    For generations in Southern California, the Thomas Guide led drivers through the streets of Los Angeles. Now apps do that. Did something get lost along the way?

×