Istanbul: City at the Threshold
The world city of Istanbul is a complex and compelling threshold condition at the meeting of the continents of Europe and Asia, eastern and western culture, and Christian and Muslim religions. Straddling the Bosphorus Strait, this city of 15 million inhabitants possesses particular problems and the potential for creative solutions at the meeting of land and water. Even before current threats of sea level rise and saltwater inundation, the city residents developed a fascinating range of hybrid floating houses, bridges and even floating pools in the liminal shoreline zone. Crisman is documenting and critically analyzing both vernacular precedents and technologically sophisticated strategies in order to develop innovative sustainable designs for urban settlements in vulnerable coastal areas threatened by sea level rise, environmental degradation, and the loss of cultural heritage. The intense global interest in the urban implications of climate change and sea level rise, as well as the poetic possibilities at the threshold of land and water, underscore the timely significance of this topic for the design disciplines. The Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center, the Learning Barge, and the Money Point Sustainable Revitalization Plan are intertwined components of this research agenda.