Anchoring Memory in the Face of Disaster: Technology and Istanbul's Cultural Heritage Preservation Regime

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Bahçeşehir Üniversitesi Hukuk Fakültesi Dergisi

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Istanbul is the largest metropolitan area in Turkey, and is a historic meeting place of cultures, religions, and continents. Yet, Istanbul's invaluable tangible cultural heritage faces several risks from natural disasters -- the best known being earthquakes. The latest estimate is that there is a 50% probability that a 7.5 Richter scale earthquake will strike Istanbul within the next thirty years, leaving many dead and Istanbul's physical infrastructure, including many historic sites, in shambles. The questions, thus, is not if Istanbul will lose vital clusters of its cultural heritage, but when.

This article argues that technology can help safeguard historic resources in Istanbul in several ways and encourages the relevant Turkish authorities to integrate technology more fully into their preservation planning and practices. First, I describe Istanbul’s efforts to establish an accessible, online inventory of historic resources and offer a powerful, but simple, method for expanding its reach: crowdsourcing. The second part discusses some of the latest technologies and techniques in digital preservation and suggest how Turkish authorities might use them to preserve Istanbul's cultural heritage. Finally, I outline the range of free, digital online resources available from multinational and national organizations that can provide expert guidance on how to protect cultural heritage from disaster and how to manage cultural heritage restoration post-disaster.

Recommended Citation

Ryan Rowberry, Anchoring Memory in the Face of Disaster: Technology and Istanbul's Cultural Heritage Preservation Regime, Bahçeşehir Üniversitesi Hukuk Fakültesi Dergisi, Nov.-Dec. 2013, at 195.



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