Construction of a Capital, Ankara: 1929-1939

Tankut, Gönül. Bir Başkentin İmarı, Ankara: 1929-1939. İstanbul:
Anahtar Kitaplar, 1993, 283pp.



Gönül Tankut
deals in this book with the urban structure of Ankara, which was chosen as the
capital after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Tankut follows an
interdisciplinary approach incorporating political science and city planning,
evaluates urban development as a political concept and claims that there are
correlations between the urbanisation of Ankara and the political mood of


Ankara as a
capital, from the outset was planned at the desk and the city was built
according to that plan. A competition was organised in 1927 in which three
foreign city planners participated by the invitation of the government. In 1929
Prof. Hermann Jansen was granted the prize. The final city plan designed by
Jansen was approved and put into practice in 1932. However, from the early
stages, there were divergences from the plan and Hermann Jansen was dismissed
in 1939.


Tankut examines
this period by providing a summary of Ankara’s urban history and surveying the
literature on the topic. She introduces some key concepts and presents her
methodology before proceeding with the main topic.


The work focuses
on the initial planning for the building of Ankara. It explains the need for
the planning, the collection of data for the plan, the organisation of the
competition and the process for the selection of a sustainable project. Tankut
discusses the role played by the main actors (architects, technicians,
bureaucrats and representatives from the private sector) for planning and
implementing the project of city building and exposes the problems which
occurred during the process.


She evaluates
the projects according to four criteria: knowledge, determination, economic
sustainability and flexibility. In the conclusion, the author assesses the
success of the Ankara project and claims that as far as the urban planning is
concerned Ankara was a failure, but its creation was a political success at the


interested in this topic should be aware that the book has some political
overtones. Nonetheless, its interdisciplinary approach and political analysis
of urban development are contributions to the subject of urbanisation. It
should also be mentioned that Tankut’s work was the recipient of one of
Turkey’s most prestigious prizes, the Yunus Nadi Prize in Social Sciences in




Serdar, Ali. '"English abstract of 'Construction of a Capital, Ankara: 1929-1939'". Translated by Ali Serdar. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi. 27. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
Muslim Civilisations Abstracts - The Aga Khan University
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