Mapping the Flood Paths of Istanbul

Could understanding how water moves across the city’s topography to prevent future flooding?

Istanbul is most-famously known for its location on the Bosphorus, the grand water way that runs through the city, cutting the city founded on grand topography in half. As much of an attraction for many, its distinct geographical features and unplanned urbanism have long disarmed the city against heavy rain and flooding.

This project maps out the natural flood paths of a Bosphorus neighborhood, Taksim, Dolmabahce and its precincts, to analyze the contrast between water flow and the urban grid.

The animation above captures the natural flow of water/rain/flood water on the topography of Istanbul. However, it is clear from this mapping that the years-long lack of planning has left the city in a disadvantaged position to tackle such issues.

The flow chart unveils how the existing buildings are obstructing the natural flow of the water. Consequentially, flooding cases occur pretty frequently even under average rainfall.

From this map it is strikingly clear that especially the newly-built stadium, seen on the right bottom corner of the map, is prone to future flooding and natural hazards due to the fact that it is blocking by sitting on top of a major flood paths.



OSM Digital Elevation Map for Istanbul, Turkey



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Taha Erdem Ozturk

Architecture student and computational design researcher at Columbia University GSAPP. Based out of New York City.