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Historic Landscape vs. Urban Commodity?: The Case of Yedikule Urban Gardens, Istanbul

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2016-01-01
DURUSOY ÖZMEN, Elifnaz
Cihanger Medeıros Rıbeıro, Duygu
Urban gardens are formed by an interrelation of natural, social, and economic dynamics over time. At the interface of the urban and rural, they provide important social and psychological benefits beyond their explicit environmental and ecological value. By providing opportunities for urban farming and agricultural production, the gardens offer a rejuvenation of collectivity within communities. However, these unique characteristics also make them some of the areas most vulnerable to the irrepressible growth of urban development. Cultural conservation and social inclusion in the gardens of Istanbul have been challenged by economic development in recent decades. Hence, they provide apt examples of the hardships faced when attempting to sustain urban gardens during periods of urban growth. The present study is focused particularly on the Yedikule Urban Gardens in Istanbul, emphasizing both destruction and development in the context of physical, natural, economic, and social change. "New" planning and conservation processes are proposed, and a framework for the integration of urban farming and rural production into changing urban environments is provided with the aim of conserving cultural and productive landscapes. This concern also presents an introductory discussion for the significance of urban green commons in Turkey.