NICHE-2014 Neo-International Conference on Habitable Environments, Jalandhar, India, 31 October 2014 - 02 November 2020
Arch.Elif Berna VAR* Prof.Dr.Mustafa VAR**
Identity is a concept that reveals the differences of animate or inanimate objects whereas urban identity is a phenomenon which is shaped by physical identity of natural and spatial structure, social identity, historical identity, cultural and formal identity. Urban spaces are in continious change like the societies living in that urban space. Although this change can sometimes be in positive direction, it is usually in a negative way. After 1840s, urban renewal movements started especially in the cities with ports, later public housing movements became popular where immigrants or people suffered from fires can be seen mostly. In Turkey, the modernization movements were began starting from the proclamation of the Republican era and continued until the Second World War. After this time, especially 1950-1990 period is the period which Turkey felt the worst effects of unplanned urbanization with no aesthetic concerns. Mass Housing Laws enacted in 1981 and 1984 partially remediate the negative aspects experienced in urban areas in Turkey.
Old squares, streets, meeting points, green areas, Ottoman bazaars where people from different occupation were located have changed slowly. This change was resulted in alienation of inhabitants to their environments. The identity problem occured in urban spaces negatively effected the living quality in urban areas. Although projects between 1990-2000 were tried to satisfy the expectations for providing cultural identity, the formal concerns of those modern projects also resulted in alienation of urban environments and its inhabitants. Like Kyoto city identified by Japanese Maple trees and Seattle city by Dahlia; Istanbul is identified by Judas and Stone Pine trees, Giresun by Cherry trees in Turkey. Although recent urban transformation projects initially made by TOKI and later followed by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization after 2011 had siginificant potentials to create healty urban environments, they could not use this opportunity because of their unconscious architectural styles and planting designs which were unrespectful to traditional structures. Recently designed green spaces are somehow resulted in a kind of pollution as they are not sensitive to urban identity and localty. The surrounding environments of new building complex are landscaped by whether easily accessible plants found by contractors or same plant templates used by the related institution.
In this article, it is emphasized that every single city should have an original identity and planting design should be used for highlighting this identity as well as architectural elements. Not only the mistakes that are made in urban transformation projects, but also the techniques and design criterias for preserving and promoting urban identity will also be expressed in this study.
Key words: Urban identity, urban transformation, planting design
* Istanbul Technical University, ITU Institute of Science, MSc in Urban Designe, 34437Taksim/Istanbul-Turkey
** Karadeniz Technical University, Faculty of Forestry, Department of Landscape Architecture, 61080 Trabzon/Turkey