Water in Istanbul: Rising to the Challenge?

This interdisciplinary project investigates the water management infrastructure of Istanbul.
Project status

This project brings archaeologists, historians, engineers and social scientists together to investigate the water management infrastructure of Istanbul at two key phases in the city’s life: the transition from Byzantine to Ottoman rule and the period of population explosion beginning circa 1980. Since foundation, Istanbul has ‘thirsted for water’ – a problem that ruling authorities have wrestled with through time and that contemporary engineers, policymakers and urban planners are still attempting to address in the context of continuing population growth and rapid climate change. Focusing on the Topkapi area, which presented particular challenges due to its elevation, archaeological fieldwork and archival research, will provide data for hydraulic engineers to model the Ottoman water management system. In parallel, engineers and social scientists will work with the city’s water management experts, policymakers and other local stakeholders to better understand current needs and explore how past practices can inform solutions to contemporary water-related challenges.

Principal Investigator: Dr Lutgarde Vandeput, British Institute at Ankara

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