The Potential of Topkapi Palace to Contribute to Urban Green Infrastructure Planning

Pinar Koylu


Green infrastructure encompasses a variety of green spaces at all spatial
scales. Historical gardens, when considered as a type of green space, are
significant for todays cities and societies, not only for their cultural, historical
and aesthetic value, but also for their natural features. Therefore,
historical gardens can be thought of as part of a wider natural and/or
constructed system. This paper focuses on Topkapi Palace, which dated
from the Ottoman period, and originally consisted of an inner core and
outer gardens. Whilst the inner core had four main sequentially-located
courtyards and a harem section, the outer gardens covered a vast area
of land in which various crops were grown, and where both wild and domestic
animals were raised. Moreover, significant change has occurred
in the outer gardens due to the ongoing processes of urbanisation and
westernisation, resulting in the loss of various plant and animal species.
Despite this, the remaining gardens and courtyards, with their existing
endowment of monumental trees and plant species, could still support
the formation of a structured network of urban green spaces in todays
metropolitan city of Istanbul. Thus, this paper focuses on the potential of
historical gardens, in this case those of Topkapi Palace, to contribute to
urban green infrastructure planning.

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