Istanbul (1936-1951) / Prost’s Zoning Scheme and the Secularisation of the City

In the earlier entries, some of the elements of Prost’s plan have been discussed in terms of how it relates to the social, economic and political context during the early republican period. In this narrative, I would like to closely examine on the zoning strategy of Prost’s master plan. In his urban proposal, the city is clearly divided into industrial, commercial, residential and recreation zones interconnected with an effective transportation system.

 

Prost’s Zoning Scheme

One of the most controversial ideas of Prost’s master plan is the designation of Golden Horn as the major industrial zone. Prost intended to place most of the heavy industry at the end of the gulf as to boost the industrial development of the city. However, the decision aroused strong opposition as it ruined the beautiful skyline of Istanbul connecting the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. The pollution problem of the industrial waste became more and more severe in the late 60s. For the residential district, Beyoglu, Taksim, Macka and Sisli were proposed as the new residential district in the suburbs of the city that is mainly composed of new mid-rise residential fabric addressing the issue of hygienic and over-crowding problem of the city centre. Lastly, the recreation zone is also an essential ingredient in Prost’s scheme. These areas were composed of new public spaces including parks, promenades, squares and children’s playground. Apart from the three major public squares as mentioned in the earlier entries, he also proposed a botanical garden in the Yenibahce region and an Olympic Park outside the city wall. In addition, he also created a 500-metre green belt outside the city wall as a buffer zone. Lastly, the Macka Park and a sport stadium were built in Dolmabahce and an open-air theatre was constructed between Taksim and Macka.

 

Zoning Strategy and Secularisation of Istanbul

The zoning strategy in Prost’s scheme is pretty rational and pragmatic that focuses on solving the major problem of hygienic problem, transportation issue and also the congested living condition due to the population boom. From his proposal, we could deduce his idea of ‘functional partitioning’ is referenced to Tony Garnier’s Industrial City that a specific program is implemented in designated area of the city. The order of the urban form becomes more and more western under the influence of Haussmannisation of Paris and other European cities. Moreover, I think the zoning system also responses to the secularism to a certain extent as it dilutes the impression of the old fabric of Constantinople and it also demolished the intrinsic streetscape that records the reminiscence of Ottoman lifestyle.

 

Reference

Gul Murat (2009), The Emergence of Modern Istanbul: Transformation and Modernization of a City, London: Tauris Acadmeic Studies.

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