Istanbul / Necessity of the Master Plan (1930s)

The narrative follows the concept of Modernisation through the establishment of a master plan which was growing in trend in and around Europe. Istanbul decided to do the same in the 1930s to propel themselves into the 20th century. It was already planned during its time as the Imperial Capital, Constantinople, by the Byzantine Empire. But in the new urban climate, the ancient plan became irrelevant in the city and hindered maximum efficiency in their industrial and commercial practices.

With the CIAM conferences at it peak, its German and French planners were invited to the city to advice on a master plan. It is seen to be influenced by the Tanzimat practices of gathering Western expertise to create a centralised system.

In the 1950s, with the rapid urbanisation into Turkish cities, Istanbul now desperately need a master plan to organise the city that was being taken over by the informal housing projects, gecekondus,  and the administration cannot remain as indecisive as they had before.The city, very secular in nature, struggled to find its identity at this time and was slowly retrograding. And with the multi- ethnic migrants taking over the city, it risks the administration losing control and thus Menderes took matters into his own hand and initiated the execution process without considering any repercussions.


Zeynep, Çelik. The Remaking of Istanbul: Portrait of an Ottoman City in the Nineteenth Century. The University of California Press. 1993.

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