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Istanbul Public Spaces and Public Life

An accessible city-a city for people

EMBARQ Turkey, in partnership with Gehl Architects, has been working to revitalize the Historical Peninsula of Istanbul, a region with unique historic and cultural heritage. This report presents research conducted by Gehl Architects and EMBARQ Turkey on public spaces, public interaction, pedestrianization, and economic vitality in the historic peninsula.

Executive Summary

In June 2010 Gehl Architects was invited to conduct a Public space and public life survey in Istanbul. The survey includes mapping of the major potentials and challenges that the historic peninsula experiences in its present state and a survey of the public life taking place in selected areas.Gehl Architects has developed the Public space and public life survey methodology as a working tool, which can be adapted to several contexts. The survey aims to make people more visible and bring public life into focus in order to form a basis for developing strategies and policies and initiate a process to improve the urban quality.Most cities have rather precise statistics about vehicular traffic flows and parking patterns. Just like information concerning commercial activities is in general equally well documented. But when it comes to insight and information about people moving and staying in the city - no such systematic collected information is generally available.The public space and public life survey has proved to be a relevant and a most workable tool for a number of cities. The survey aims at presenting very complex problems in a simple and pedagogical form. This invites people to participate in the debate and obtain a greater understanding of their city. Public space and public life surveys tend to be a milestone in the planning process by formulating a vision and a general agreement of where the city is heading, aligning future developments and offering a common mind set. The outlined public space and public life methodology has been used for the Istanbul survey, so that it is possible to compare the current situation on the historic peninsula with other cities.This survey includes recording of pedestrian traffic in addition to registration of staying activities occurring in selected locations in the historic peninsula during a summer weekday and a summer Saturday. Additional surveys have been made on a summer Sunday and on a weekday out of summer season.Look for supplementary information in the Analysis and Data sections.

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