Like human beings, cities are constantly changing, even though this process might seem imperceptible to us as we shuttle back and forth to work by the same route every day. But when we look back over the decades to our childhood, it is obvious that while we chased after balls in streets where cats, dogs, gulls and street vendors added their noises to our shouts, Istanbul was already pregnant with inevitable change.
In hindsight Istanbul was even then heading into the mainstream of modern life. Throughout history its geographical position had made this city a link between continents and cultures, and the time had come to open up to international markets and take its place in the hierarchy of world cities. Globalisation was squeezing all cities into similar moulds, and Istanbul, with its wooded hills and leafy suburbs spreading lazily on either side of the Bosphorus, was caught up in the current. Somehow it had to make room for a miniature New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris or Tokyo within its boundaries.