The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul: The Emergent Unfolding of a Complex Adaptive System | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2045-5895
  • E-ISSN: 2045-5909



The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul offers an example of a physical environment containing specific districts that have emerged over time. This paper theorizes that the Grand Bazaar exhibits the characteristics of a Complex Adaptive System. Next, it considers specific urban elements found in the Bazaar, in light of complexity theory, to see how these facilitate processes that lead to the emergence of contiguous districts. This study repurposes Kevin Lynch’s categorization of urban elements to provide a useful framework for discussing complexity theory. This research is further informed by economic analysis derived from Evolutionary Economic Geography, which examines the emergence of business clusters.


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