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A new dream for Taksim

14 6 1

There is a democratic aspect to holding a public vote when it comes to urban development. In the end, the residents of course will not make the decision, but an opportunity is offered for an open discussion on what to do. Local governments are opting for public votes on several features of our daily lives, such as the color and style of bus stops and ferry boats, town square designs, and the colors of buildings. For more complicated issues, ones where there is a conflict of interest, decisions made by the “elected” executives and representatives are implemented. We are asked to vote only on the topics that don’t harm anyone and that wouldn’t cause huge fights. We are content, at least, that our opinion has been asked directly on a subject. The options we are voting on are actually the projects that have been commissioned and approved by the rulers of the city. Thus, just as important as the vote itself, or even more important, is the fact that the projects are open to debate and that those interested in the issue can discuss the design, daily life and the future of the city. Developing opinions about the city we reside in and directing criticisms about these topics are essentials in a democratic urban life. However, we have been given extremely limited access in this regard.

The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) is currently putting the design for three iconic squares in the city, those in Taksim, Bakırköy and Salacak, to a public vote with the slogan “Istanbul is yours, the decision is yours.” A competition was........

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