Byzantine Planning: Site Management in Istanbul
Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites, Vol. 15 No. 2, May 2013, 169–94
Posted: 3 Sep 2014
Date Written: September 2, 2014
A new site management plan for Istanbul’s Historic Peninsula was approved in late 2011. In this paper, we examine its institutional setting, preparation process, and contents from organizational and administrative perspectives. The result of a participatory process, the plan is professional, logically consistent, and effectively identifies challenges facing cultural heritage. The heart of the plan is a complex architecture of Objectives, Strategies, and Actions that are integrated into forty-nine Project Packages. Surprisingly, however, the plan specifies neither concrete activities nor financial resources. Moreover, cultural heritage is consistently downplayed: rather than substantive interventions at monuments or museums, attention is focused on managerial and urban planning buzzwords (coordination, capacity-building, participation, awareness-raising, marketing). This arose from the preparation process, which was participatory but nonetheless dominated by urban planners and government agencies. The case suggests the potential risks of the uncritical application of managerial and urban planning tools to cultural heritage.
Keywords: Turkey, Istanbul, site management, urban planning, participatory planning
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