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A Century of Urban Transformation, Istanbul’s Evolution

Yunus Emre Institute London is pleased to announce the successful hosting of its Young Scholar Seminar Series talk titled "A Century of Urban Transformation: Istanbul’s Evolution" by Mahmud Sami Karahasanoğlu. The insightful discussion took place on Thursday, April 18th, 2024. Karahasanoğlu's talk comprehensively addressed the population growth and urbanization process of Istanbul, as well as population movements in Istanbul and London. He provided a detailed analysis of how the phenomenon of slum began with the decrease in agricultural labor demand coupled with the impact of increased labor migration to cities due to industrialization. It was emphasized how this phenomenon emerged due to the government's inadequate response to the growing migration and urbanization pressure, coupled with budget limitations.

The talk also focused on the impact of coups disrupting elections and military administrations managing municipalities on urban transformation. The process of urbanization shaped by both people and central governance was examined in detail.

In his talk, Mahmud Sami Karahasanoğlu also proposed suggestions for the improvement of Istanbul. Among these suggestions were activities to promote ownership of the city, reducing population density, reorganising Istanbul along certain lines, and revitalising the inner parts of the city, highlighting actionable steps. Additionally, the talk included an examination of London as an example, with attention drawn to the dangers of increasing density in areas like Hackney. It was noted that increasing density without additional infrastructure poses risks to the security and quality of life in the region.

The event delved into the deep transformation of Istanbul's urban landscape over the past century, highlighting the impacts of Turkey's industrialization journey on cities, presenting both unprecedented challenges and opportunities. Participants were invited to contemplate the extensive implications of Istanbul's story for global cities and urged to recognize the lessons it holds for sustainable urban development.

As Yunus Emre Institute London continues its mission of promoting cultural exchange and understanding, the event served as a platform for dialogue and exploration, transcending geographical boundaries and fostering connections between diverse communities. 
Yunus Emre Institute (Turkish: Yunus Emre Enstitüsü) is the Republic of Turkey’s cultural institute. Established in 2007, the organisation has over 85 branches worldwide. Through cultural diplomacy, the Institute aims to increase awareness of Turkish culture, support the learning of the Turkish language and to stimulate greater exchange in the fields of arts, culture, science, education. Since opening its doors in London in 2010, Yunus Emre Institute has become an improving the bonds of friendship between Turkey and the United Kingdom. 

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