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ITU J Faculty Arch: 10 (1)
Volume: 10  Issue: 1 - June 2013
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Y. Çağatay Seçkin
Pages II - IV

2.Istanbul as a palimpsest city and imperfection
Hülya Turgut
Pages 1 - 4
Abstract | Full Text PDF

3.Memory of metropolis / remembering and forgetting in metropolis
Işıl Ekin Çalak
Pages 5 - 16
The word ‘Metropolis’ is a shorter version of the word ‘meterpolis’, itself derived from the Greek word ‘meter’ (mother) and polis (city, town). It is identified as the ‘center city’ which is more developed than other cities in terms of culture and economy (1). Hence, the metropolis is a depiction of hybridity and multi-layering; and while it is related to the city, it is not solely derived from the space. Even though the concept of a metropolis carries spatial references related with urban density, its real quality is super-spatial, in the sense that as Gideon describes as the cities as “social constructs”.

The most particular characteristic of a network society makes itself visible through changes in space and time. All relationships, regardless of time and place, can be facilitated through networks. They are also capable of connecting the whole city as a single skein. Each relationship has its own channels of interactions and these channels do not intersect even though they sometimes overlap. As a result, this fragmental network structure creates a collage of relationships within the city. This collage, relating to the previous orders and networks and conducting different relationships with them, causes a dynamic palimpsest structure.

The metropolis is considered a palimpsest because they carry the qualities of a world city. In other words, while metropolises carry the historic marks of the geography that they are located in social and spatial manners, they transform rather quickly within the multi directional flow fed by the whole world. Even though this flow continues to create city and metropolis images that are similar to each other, each metropolis still continues to be itself due to this unique palimpsest and its layers.

The integration of speed with the city could be considered as an important aspect distinguishing life and social from the pre-modern period. The transforming impact of speed and mechanical movement on social life leads to an analysis of the metropolises within the context of memory.

The metropolis is a post-modern concept one realized through spatio-temporal transformations of the post-industrial era. In a metropolis, man’s interaction with the world he lives in seems to be quite different from other cities. Hence, understanding the disconnection of man from the space of the metropolis generated modernity is important for deciphering the mentality and memory of the life in the metropolis.

As a result, this article focuses on how an individual, who is detached from space, performs the acts of remembering and forgetting within the metropolitan life. The text also hopes to shed light on the topography of a metropolis which inclines towards forgetting and ephemerality rather than stability and permanency. From this perspective, the article will suggest new ways of analyzing Istanbul in the context of memory.

4.The imperfection of the incomplete timeless urban space
Derya Karaali, Ahsen Karagöl
Pages 17 - 36
What if we fold time and see the different time frames together? For instance, while Theodora was watching the race at the Hippodrome, she would also attend the circumcision feast of the sons of Suleyman the Magnificent; the janissary band of municipality would take a stage at the same celebration; Uncle Septimius Severus could give presents to the siblings and the Japanese tourist, Okazaki, would take a picture of that moment.

Cities are the reality of a physical and spatial response to their temporality -which clouds the mind creating a feeling of timelessness. This situation of the city prevents designers from creating ‘the perfect space’. However, in contrast to a negative sense of imperfection; uncontrolled, imprecise and incompatible city dynamics, keeps the imaginations vigorous, passes incomplete data to the inhabitants and encourages them to interact with the city to fill in the blanks. Because, unlike the irrational space of myths, a city is an obscured, ignored and eradicated chaos.

As every civilization imprints self-traces onto cities with monumental structures, intimately imperfect daily life flows consistently and leaves the prints behind. While some cities cannot reflect today’s time, space and life stratifications as much as their past; Istanbul is compressed between struggle of past and present.

5.Limits of re-writing and legibility of transformations in Istanbul’s Historic Peninsula: An interpretation inspired from the Wabi-Sabi philosophy
Nazlı Taraz
Pages 37 - 50
The Japanese philosophy Wabi regards beauty as the results of imperfections and changes of daily life, and Sabi teaching supports this attitude by advocating the idea that life experiences and accumulation of years are important factors increasing beauty. From the viewpoint of Wabi-Sabi, urban transformation is an inevitable and imperfect activity that, nevertheless, always progresses to beauty. In this article, the Wabi-Sabi philosophy will be related to the event’s theme “imperfection” and life experiences to analyze Istanbul as “the palimpsest city”. The discussion will be carried out step by step from the first urban settlement at the Historic Peninsula and the following transformations in the light of Wabi-Sabi philosophy, by tracing the continuities and changes at the civic heart of the city.

The geographical location of Istanbul has always provided a productive living environment that was preferred by communities due to its vital superiorities. As a result, the town has always remained as a populated, though changing and transforming area throughout the history. When the traces of these transformations are analyzed, the Megaran colonies of Byzantion and Chalcedon, which introduced an urban way of living into the region, appear as urban textures consisting of temples and sacred areas as outcomes of the commercial ports and Pagan traditions. As a result of the passing years, the increasing beauty of these sacred areas, whose locations were determined according to the topographical characteristics, resulted in their being handled as references for the later transformations of the town. For example, the juxtaposition of the sacred area Athena Ekbassia and the contemporary Topkapı Palace at the same location highlight the palimpsest aspect of Istanbul. Similarly, the co-existence of the Pagan traditions with Christian buildings shows the associated relationship of two different urban languages in the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. This situation is an indicator to the deletion of “the palimpsest town” Byzantium and writing of Constantinople gradually by inevitable transformations in the town texture.

Likewise, the public and ceremonial centers of the first settlement show parallelism with contemporary Istanbul with regards to the positioning of today’s buildings in the town. The direction of this continual deletion and re-writings of the town has progressed from the highest point of the Acropolis towards the east from the Antiquity onwards, and all civilizations have created their own centers by protecting or transforming the pre-existing spaces of urban experience. The Sultanahmet Square over the Hippodrome appears as the beauty of earlier experiences in uppermost writing of today.
From the viewpoint of “imperfections”, as a result of the increase in population, the city walls of Byzantion were extended, creating space in the middle of the town. This area was transformed into the Augusteion Square, which became the construction site of the Hagia Sophia, later. With the reign of the Ottoman Empire, this monumental building, whose importance increased with life experiences and passing years, became an “imperfect” building that continually necessitated intervention to the degree of giving up the religious functions, and the building become a museum for today.

When the continual transformations of Istanbul are evaluated with the Wabi-Sabi understanding, while the speed of re-writings of Istanbul increase with the socio-cultural, political and technological dynamics; the opportunity of erasing, changing or transforming diminishes synchronously with every intervention. This is reminiscent that after erasing a paper repeatedly, soon after, it becomes unreadable and non-erasable.

The essence of this article is the increasing beauty of the Historic Peninsula by virtue of life experiences and passing years, despite all the “imperfections” that affect the course of daily life, as reveals in the light of Wabi-Sabi philosophy.

6.An urban reading in-between past and future: Palimpsest identity
Afşar Karababa
Pages 51 - 64
Within the architectural discipline, the phenomenon of identity is transformed every time it is defined and it simultaneously transforms the perception of space and experience. Since, this simultaneous transformation makes the urban history and its future projections visible in the present; it could be argued that the identity of the urban space has a palimpsest structure. The concept of “palimpsest identity” can be opened to discussion within the context of Istanbul, in relation to the current hegemonic structures and myths. Regarding globalisation, as one of the hegemonic myths of neo-liberal system, the city is re-structured through various discourses one of which is “The Brand City”. In this study, the concept of palimpsest identity is scrutinized in particular in relation to Istanbul, through how Istanbul is articulated to brand city rhetoric. A reading of the city could only give the episteme of a certain place and moment/time of Istanbul. In this consideration, the palimpsest identity of the Levent-Gültepe region on Levent-Maslak axis, which is developed to brand Istanbul as a “Financial Center”, is interpreted. As a result, the concept of palimpsest identity is offered to open up new ways of articulated to the eternal transformation of the city by producing new discourses on architecture and the urban space.

7.Non-erasable human traces against urban transformation
Nevşet Gül Çanakçıoğlu
Pages 65 - 83
The notion of urban transformation, which occupies Turkey’s agenda, has gained much more momentum because of new urban planning regulations. The regulations aim to make some parts of the city more ‘flawless’, affecting the physical character and societal norms of the city. The city of Istanbul, which is attempting to create this flawless look by clarification of timeworn urban parts with the help of urban transformation projects, is evaluated as a revenue generator; giving Istanbul the opportunity to advance its economy to the level of other global brand cities.

Istanbul, a capital city with many different civilizations since the Roman Empire, is such a glowing city in terms of its economical characteristics. The city developed during centuries by many overlapping layers of cultural codes and living spaces belonging to many different cultures. Preserving its history has an important value with this kind of cultural diversity and richness. As it is well known, inaccurate political decisions, intended to gain more votes, caused a significant amount of land to be informally occupied by immigrants who then constructed buildings lacking quality. The 1999 earthquake in the city created a need to rehabilitate these informally built areas and accelerated the movements of urban transformation projects of the timeworn and bedraggled areas on the uppermost layer of the city. But these efforts turned into a total change of the city instead of preserving the traditions and history of Istanbul.

By the expropriation law in 2006, Romans who were living in Sulukule since the 11th century were forced to abandon their homes. The Roman houses, which could not be improved because of the lack of education and unemployment of the people living in the area, were demolished and no trace was left of its history. The new buildings built in the area in the present time, appeal to a very high income group and the project only focuses to create private spaces for new home owners excluding any kind of urban space for the rest of the public. Although the project is planned with social functions for the Sulukule people, it is clear that those people will not be able to live in the area since the land value has increased ten-fold. Three different cases against the project, causing it to be canceled because no ‘public benefit’ could be found, have created recognition for the issue.

The kind of urban transformation movement which does not allow cultural values to be transferred to the present time is such an erasing activity—scratching out not only the physical realities but also a way of living. The people of Sulukule who were located to the houses built by the government at the outskirts of Istanbul, came back and moved in to the neighborhoods close to their old living areas to pursue their usual daily life activities since there has been no increase in their incomes. They could not adapt to apartment living, reimburse their rents, monthly revenues and transportation expenses.

Consequently, it cannot be told that such an urban transformation implementation has achieved its goal. While urban deprivation is the main problematic issue of urban transformations, the implementation, on the other hand, is only setting back this deprivation sweeping it to the edges.

So, the erasing activity of the dozers was not able to neither destroy nor cause social practices to disappear, but only caused them to be set back slightly. In the scope of this paper, Sulukule city part, which will be evaluated as a palimpsest urban space, is clarified from its flaws but many life stories engraved into the history that are assumed to be erased, are still leaking into the present time of ours beneath from the parchment paper. That form of leakage will be tried to be transferred to the reader by the help of observations and interviews made by the researcher in the area.

In the scope of this article, the issue of social transformation will tried to be argued upon an implemented urban transformation project in such a way that as long as urban transformation policies do not make a contribution to rehabilitate the problems of education, health and unemployment, they will unfortunately continue to be such phenomena increasing the unearned income in the city.

8.“Gentrification” as an effective force: Case study: Reconstruction plan of Hafisa Quarter (Medina of Tunisia)
Zehra Mahmoudi Manesh, Jafer Kerimpour
Pages 84 - 95
In recent transition process of urban development, especially because of high and middle class abandonment, residential quarters of inner cities gradually had lost their values and occupied by immigrated groups (non-native), and low-income class. In result of this fact, quality of life has reduced to minimum possible limit, with non- hygienic conditions. One of the most useful theories in this course is gentrification; the process of improving old neighborhoods with low qualification, in order to encourage high social, middle class, and especially gentries to return there. In spite of its advantages, gentrification has often and wrongly become synonymous with displacement of native residents. Therefore, this paper is going to present an accurate comprehension about the essence of gentrification through analysis and description method by clarifying its distinction from displacement. In addition, by researching a sample of successful projects in this course, gentrification is going to be regarded as an achievable theory in reconstruction of historical areas by emphasizing on its offered advantages through this article. As a result, it should be mentioned that displacement is not a goal of gentrification, but just a consequence that could be created in result of inappropriate politics of development or any renovation methods in process of improving historic areas.

9.Urban planning experience in Kayseri in the 1940s: 1945 Oelsner – Aru City Plan
Suat Çabuk, Kemal Demir
Pages 96 - 116
Kayseri’s city plan, in the Post-Republican Period, demonstrates a typically modernized Anatolian city. Today Kayseri is considered as one of the most well organized cities in Turkey and reached its current spatial order as a result of five city plans (1933, 1945, 1975, 1986, 2006). The first city plan was prepared in 1933 by Burhanettin Çaylak and the second plan, approved in 1945, was prepared by the German architect and urban planner Gustav Oelsner and the Turkish architect and urban planner Kemal Ahmet Aru. The plan remained in use for 30 years and indisputably affected the arrangement of the city until it was replaced by the Yavuz Taşçı Plan in 1975; while in 1986 the Taşçı Plan was replaced by the Topaloğlu and Berksan Plan.

This paper will analyze the 1945 Oelsner - Aru City Plan experience for Kayseri. The aim of the study is to evaluate the planning discourse of Gustav Oelsner and Kemal Ahmet Aru over the Kayseri plan, which is considered to be amongst their most important works. Accordingly, this paper examines both the 1945 city plan and the “Report on Kayseri” which was written by Oelsner in 1944. The initial phase of the 1945 plan, the suggestions of the Oelsner Report, and its reflections on the city plan of Kayseri were studied.

It is worth noting that the Ministry of Public Works Urban Planning Science Committee (the central authority in Turkish urban planning) used the Kayseri city model, in the years 1936-45, for the planning process of more than sixty cities.

The year 2012 was announced as “Kemal Ahmet Aru Year” by UNESCO and it was included in the celebration program. Thus, the analysis of the Kayseri plan, which Aru described as “My first urban plan”, has a distinctive value in terms of Turkish urban planning history. The findings and conclusions of the present study are expected to shed light on unknown aspects of Kayseri’s urban planning and to correct misinformation about the Oelsner - Aru plan. Thus the study contributes to understanding of the planning approaches of Oelsner - Aru who prepared urban plans for many cities in Turkey.

10.ECO-SPIRIT: Sustainable development and environmental awareness in contemporary liturgical planning
Vilmos Katona, Zorán Vukoszávlyev
Pages 117 - 127
Today, the practice of energy efficient architecture has demanded not only a technical change in the building industry but also the acquiring of sustainable design methods and the development of a new architectural image based on a specifically ecological way of thinking. The aspects of environmental calculations are best presented by the examples of high standard public investments developed with respect for the environment, the use of renewable energy by minimising pollution and energy consumption. These criteria are not eligible to satisfy the socio-cultural compactness of an artificial environment which has communal or intellectual functions. Despite their integration into local topography, the difficulties of structure and insulation, or the use of industrial materials often reveal the contradictions between the unnatural facts and the clarity of the buildings’ architectural language. Such contradictions are especially warning in contemporary liturgical architecture, however, the spiritual requirements of local communities are capable of encouraging an environmentally more conscious planning. The goal of this study is prospecting solutions for both a physically and culturally sustainable design in this very specific field.

11.Urban metamorphosis and Islamic Architecture in the time of globalization: Utopian realities and challenges
Majdi Faleh
Pages 128 - 137
Over the past few years, the Arab world has seen a great shift from non-urbanized deserted lands into intensively urbanized cities. Technology was a powerful tool, and it became used excessively to design highly complex designs, and to “manufacture” the image of millennium cities such as Dubai. Those ‘cities bubbles’ are being inserted into a global system, driven by capitalistic powers. Nowadays, there is less inspiration from hidden roots and complex systems of articulation of the Islamic/Arabic architectural pattern and model. There is an urging need to establish a critical thinking vis-a-vis the excessive consumed built environment, system of values, and the lack of creativity. As globalization is becoming a standard of life, a different exploration of today’s ideologies is needed, and thoughtful inspirations are to be brought to the table. Our need for this study is also related to the lack of knowledge in this field, and more specifically within Muslim thinkers, city planners and designers. Architects and researchers on Middle East have been discussing the issue of urban fantasies and the utopian visions in Arab countries. They also detailed urban ills and the loss of environmental, cultural and functional aspects, as well as the issues of cultural identity.

Achieving modernity in our globalized world is a real challenge which might not always succeed. An interesting focus for our research can include studies of the metamorphosis of excessively globalized cities in the Arab world. This study would be an interesting response to several questions, and it will examine the urban and architectural fabric in the Islamic world, discussing whether or not colonization was replaced by globalization, and analyzing how excessive consumption, in a broader sense, has changed our spaces into meaningless realities. A long tradition of architectural complexity, aesthetics and sustainable friendly features need to be studied in depth. These different studies would establish new bridges and bodies of knowledge not only for local architects and designers, but also for western professionals, and globalization can be turned into an advantage, at that point.

12.Can place-attachment provide cultural sustainability? Empirical research on Turkish neighborhoods ‘mahalle’
İmre Özbek Eren
Pages 138 - 158
Place-attachment is generally considered in the context of social environment but the physical environment also affects place-attachment in which social life goes on and is shaped by it. The aim of this paper is to examine how and to what extent the built environment affects place-attachment by asking the question ‘Can place-attachment affect cultural sustainability in neighborhoods and how?’

The paper focuses on the hypothesis through a specialized kind of neighborhood in Turkey: ‘mahalle’. An empirical research method is used to analyze the case studies from Istanbul city. The social reaction in the case studies - Arnavutköy and Ondokuz Mayıs Mahallesi- is described and then the social and physical background of this behavior is explained. First, the mahalle concept is considered in order to clarify the components affect place-attachment and cultural sustainability. The case studies and their analysis are considered in two levels: Parameters of place-attachment in natural, built and perceptual environmental and parameters of socio-cultural sustainability.

The results show us that place-attachment brings environmental consciousness: people who feel they belong to a place want to conserve and sustain the components of that place’s features. The built environment has a great effect on this behavior through the features of scale, street morphology, diverse mixed-use, pedestrian walking distances or the limits of the mahalle. The weaker the place-attachment, the more awareness of the environment is seen.

13.The effects of water elements in urban space perception: A case study in Üsküdar Municipality Square
Eren Kurkcuoglu, Oya Akin
Pages 159 - 175
The purpose of this study is to investigate water elements, which are one the most important design elements in urban open spaces, by focusing on their importance in spatial perception, their place in spatial organization, their effects on increasing the quality of space and their psychological effects on users. In the content of the study, the relationships between water elements, urban design and spatial perception processes have been examined in the context of theories of perception and environmental psychology. A questionnaire was conducted to reflect the multi-dimensional aspects to determine how it perceived and interpreted by users with different characteristics and the results of the questionnaire were evaluated for the water element within the case-study area, Üsküdar Municipality Square.

According to the results of the survey and the observations evaluated with Lickert-scale scoring system; four main outcomes have detected: (I) The square and the water element is an important focal point in the whole central area of Üsküdar, (II) The harmony between the water element and the urban environment is interpreted in medium level, (III) Relaxing and refreshing features are more prominent for users, (IV) The design principles are not very successful, the tools used on the pool are common, plain and ordinary (medium level). According to the results and the problems associated with the conceptual framework; the principles to be considered in the design of the water element are produced in the context of the sample area.

14.The new agenda-setter in design milieu: Landscape
Ebru Erbaş Gürler, Ahmet Cengiz Yıldızcı
Pages 176 - 193
In the last 20 years landscape has underwent a change more than it had in the past in terms of meaning and activity. Landscape flourished with new meanings and contents thus widened the area of landscape architects. One common and essential point of the current design and planning approaches is that they interpret landscape as an important key in order to understand complex layers of many settlements from rural to urban areas. All of these changes and new openings are influential over contemporary urban concept and 21st century design issues and approaches. Landscape activities are spreading in many places over the world as conceptual and also as basic designing and planning tools. Landscape began to be a main solution and starting point more than an additional or supporting element for different design conditions. Moreover, many design problems in different geographies or settlements can be solved by landscape.

In this study, new contexts and expansions that have an effect on 21th century’s design matters and approaches are clarified in order to how landscape has been changing and recovering our environment and become one of the main instruments for environmental design and planning.

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