chapter  17
17 Pages

Future(s) of the City: Istanbul for the New Century

WithLevent Soysal

There are numerous potentially productive ways to enter a discussion on the future(s) of Istanbul. One could begin with a demographic and spatial expansion of the city, the population now standing at an astronomic fifteen million (officially twelve million; nearly one fifth of Turkey’s population) and the urban sprawl literally covering the entire land between the two adjacent cities of Kocaeli and Tekirdaù, and with no end to growth in sight. One could speak about the city’s economy as a prelude and possibly ponder on what it means for the city and Turkey that Istanbul’s contribution to gayrı safi katma deùer (national gross value added) is nearing 30 per cent, not only greater than any other city but any region of Turkey. One could also engage in a deliberation on the political impact of a mega-city with seventy (out of five hundred and fifty) representatives in the

assembly and home to the largest number of political, cultural, and recreational associations, headquarters of all the major banks, corporations and media conglomerates.