The Changing landscapes of Ankara
A critical ground for integrative urban and landscape development
Keywords:landscape change, landscape infrastructure, Ankara, landscape fabric
This article offers a critical reading of the changing landscapes of Ankara, exposing the still existing potential for framing integrative urban strategy-making. Ankara has undergone intense urban expansion since the 1950s, and like other cities, it is still dealing with large scale construction/destruction engendering dramatic landscape loss in various contexts and scales. Although change in the landscape is typical of urbanization, nature and landscape were largely undervalued in the implementation of urban development strategies in Ankara. Contradicting per capita green space policies, the well-structured urban landscape, including both natural and planned/designed landscapes from the Republican Period were fragmented and reduced. Valleys creating corridors for fresh air and offering a reserve for agriculture were engulfed by squatter houses, then by new housing projects; streams, defining a blue infrastructure accompanied by fertile lands were partially covered over or canalized. Furthermore, the landscape heritage of the early Republican Period, which played a key role in the modernization of societal and urban life, was also undervalued, while the urban park system has been diminished. This article identifies representative examples of fragmentation and loss of the landscape fabric, as well as the latent potential of the landscape to articulate a sustainability agenda for Ankara.
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