Urban Farming: A New Phenomenon?

Instructor: Cemal Kafadar
Summer 2014 / Harvard Summer School

Documenting, Studying, and Preserving the Historic Yedikule Gardens of Istanbul

The topic of urban farming has become popular in recent years because it offers city inhabitants the opportunity to enjoy quiet green spaces, acquire fresh produce, and reconnect with the natural world. Many cities in the United States and Europe have established neighborhood gardens in which residents are able to cultivate and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, and small neighborhood markets have arisen to offer locally grown produce within heavily urban areas. But is the concept of urban farming really such a new phenomenon? Historically, urban gardens across the world have played an essential role in daily city life, as well as feeding large populations during desperate periods of famine and economic collapse. This summer course is designed to educate students from diverse academic backgrounds (such as history, biology, environmental studies, public policy, heritage management, archaeology) about the context and history of urban farming practices in Istanbul and to provide hands-on experience in documenting and studying these gardens through an innovative multidisciplinary research approach.