Shaped by the Ottoman Empire, known for historical Byzantine structures and its famed Grand Bazaar, Istanbul has always been a melting pot of influences and culture. In recent years, due to thriving economies, emerging cities such as Istanbul have begun cultivating a design landscape. Rapid progress often compromises preservation of heritage and promotion of the arts. On the 5th of November 2012, Taksim Square, one of the few remaining green areas of the city was closed off until late 2013, without the knowledge or consent of its citizens. Here we speak to Özlem Yalim Özkaraoglu, Director of the Design Biennial, and designer, Koray Malhan, about dictatorial urban planning and the future of Turkey’s most notable city.