IJCH 2017 Vol.3(3): 203-212 ISSN: 2382-6177
doi: 10.18178/ijch.2017.3.3.101

Changing Cities and Changing Memories: The Case of Taksim Square, Istanbul

D. Erbey
Abstract—Memory of places is an important component of tangible and intangible heritage, but urban dynamics mainly force cities to change and urban conservation studies and rarely implement and consider the individual and society’s memories about places. During a series of expert meetings, held in various parts of the world and at UNESCO Headquarters from 2005 to 2010, a contemporary approach on the continuity of historic areas, the historic urban landscape (HUL) was developed by adoption of the last UNESCO Recommendation related to heritage preservation. The HUL approach takes a holistic and relational perspective with social elements, showing that the heritage of a physical space needs to be preserved in the same way as the physical elements themselves are preserved. Istanbul is a metropolitan city that is in conflict between rapid change in the economic, social, cultural and also physical fields and continuity of heritage that has accumulated in historical layers. The main issue is the continuity of memories as well as their interactions with spaces and with the integrity they provide. Taksim Square, which has a historical and significant role in the city, is also a target for urban projects that transform the space. Changes in the functions, references, and the physical environment cause deterioration of people’s memories. In this paper, we discuss how Taksim Square has been changed by planning decisions since 1923 but focusing the period after 1980s in order to understand the gap between space and memory, we propose “urban memory” as a new indicator for the HUL approach to sustain its part in the heritage it represents.

Index Terms—Urban memory, urban conservation, historic urban landscape, heritage.

D. Erbey is with Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Turkey (e-mail: dilekerbey@gmail.com).

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Cite: D. Erbey, "Changing Cities and Changing Memories: The Case of Taksim Square, Istanbul," International Journal of Culture and History vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 203-212, 2017.

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