Towards sustainable habitats in Turkey
Challenges and prospects for the future
Keywords:Traditional, Contemporary Approaches
Considering the serious environmental and social problems faced during the last few decades and the extensive neglect and devastation of local sources and values, urban development practice cannot be said to be meeting sustainability requirements in most habitats. Urban planning and design are not merely engaged in the visual qualities of urban places but should be recognized as processes through which we consciously shape and manage our habitats with a focus on meeting the requirements of sustainable urbanism. This article firstly explores the logic of sustainable urbanism through a review of its philosophical and practical framework; secondly, it provides a critical assessment of contemporary approaches to sustainable urbanism; and thirdly, it analyses the traditional Turkish (Ottoman) city, which provides valuable clues for sustainable habitats with identity. These evaluations indicate that instead of advocating compactness in all cases, randomly mixing of uses, and promoting car-oriented developments; planners and designers should promote context-sensitive compactness, completeness, and sustainable movement patterns and connectedness. Moreover, rather than relying on standardized urban design guides, practicing ‘green-washed’ architecture and urbanism, creating left-over spaces through planning, and ignoring the peculiarities of the community, practitioners should foster urban identity, promote access to nature and sensitivity to the natural ecology, create sustainable public spaces, and develop social sustainability. These alternative measures are essential for creating sustainability in the urban environment of future habitats.
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