This paper attempts to uncover and analyze the dynamics of residential urban transformation in the vicinity of the controversial Istanbul mega-project, Canal Istanbul. The planned urban fabric along the prospective shores of Canal Istanbul is largely residential, and many of the projects are large-scale, ‘branded’ projects. Unoficially termed ‘New Istanbul’, this area was promoted heavily by the government in the run-up to the general elections of 2011. The messages contained therein were multi-layered and have changed over time. However, they focus in general on Turkey’s ambitions of becoming a regional power by 2023 (the Republic’s centennial), a desire to align the country more closely with its Ottoman past, and the promotion of family values, as well as a more conservative worldview. It is these distorted reflections of design culture, public policy, and the housing market that form the focal point of this research. By deconstructing pertinent elements of the New Istanbul discourse through a thematic content analysis of selected housing development websites, this study aims to uncover the unforeseen socio-spatial texture of a newly constructed urban periphery, shaped through the political discourse and exposed via the market.
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