Within this framework, I will be observing the development path of an emerging subcentre through pin-pointing the development of Bayraklı, in relation to the perception of sustainability, enquiring whether urban redevelopment is regarded as a strategic term or a contextual element that has been embedded in architectural planning and in urban forms.
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Recently, urban development projects have taken a central dominance over the production of urban spaces within the metropolitan cities. With the implementation of such developments, regenerated urban areas, newly developing business sectors, tourism-orientated facilities, malls and many other amenities have risen.
This document critiques the sustainability tendencies within a regeneration programme and their building clusters situated in emerging recent subcentres of metropolitan areas. Through this context, this document will observe and interrogate whether or not sustainable buildings are utilized as a means of strategic branding, enticing such firms, or as an essential design element wherein satisfies the social, political and environmental concerns within architectural integrity, the design of the buildings and their association within the urban context of the newly developing region of Izmir. The significance in examining the ideologies in all contexts are essential as the effect of these mega-scale developments, will form long-term impacts on the urban landscape ecologically, socially, and physically.
Bayraklı is regarded as a district with a high seismic rate within Turkey. Whilst the devastations are associated with damage and loss, the destructive outcomes are exacerbated by the capacity of non-compliant buildings, poor infrastructure and workmanship.
As a large scale redevelopment, Izmir has recently embarked upon a challenge of reinforcing high-risk surroundings within the region of Bayraklı. The historical, yet strategic significance of the district is evident and is critical for the future urban development of the city. Based on this supposition the site has a central location along the coast, enclosing the Izmir Cove with a surface area of 35km2, and is regarded as a high-rise development zone by the local government.
Sustainability embraces the environmental limits of living; in a broader term, a ‘healthy society’. Increasing public green spaces both within and around the clusters of high-rise, managing air and waste pollution, Bayraklı has been listed in such ratings to obtain international certifications from LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology), amongst many others.
The site, accommodates, residential and commercial facilities such as leisure and offices amongst a six-storey high mixed-use tower. With a complete floor area of 150,000m2, the project was entitled to two 40-storey mixed-use towers, erected on a six-storey horizontal shopping mall.
The wind resistant, curvilinear form of the Folkart towers, have enabled penetration from the sea breeze into its adjacent urban area, a field designated as a ‘green belt’. With a high coverage ratio of 90%, the design of the public green area connects the neighbourhood to the axis that reaches the shore. The development of the public green spaces between the Folkart Towers, (so called the ‘Twin Towers’) have enhanced such opportunities; outdoor sports and recreation, visual amenity and biodiversity, amid the improvement of a derelict land.
The available green space amongst the twin towers have attracted more visitors than expected in Summer 2016], as the Republic of Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism have announced.
The facilities were mainly introduced to locals of Bayraklı, though has experienced a high desire from such citizens neighbouring from nearby districts and even those who have willed to travel from further distances. The landscaping, as opposed to the modern street lighting, street furnishings, outdoor and indoor sports facilities have been an attraction point for those who have less experience and access to such spaces within their boroughs.
The coastal development encourages a range of such outdoor facilities; wider and efficient bicycle lanes, public fitness parks, children play centres, amongst many isolated pathways for joggers, sprinters and those whom enjoy their slow pace walks. A zone is specially dedicated for picnic activities, including fire places, seating areas, manageable recycling bins, and parking lots for attendances with vehicles.
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There is a substantial, indication of benefits the district has aroused; a major increase on health care within the last decade. These benefits include better self-rated health, lower body mass index, a decrease in overweight levels; a substantial improvement of mental health and an increased longevity. By increasing the access to available public spaces, Bayraklı has tackled the notion of community cohesion and reduced social isolation.
Through the regeneration projects, industrial heritages have been maintained within the district and derelict areas have been implemented with modern, contemporary architecture. However the design of the district had been challenging for the urban planners in embracing the zonal division between the shore and situated inner settlements.
As a critique of the area, I believe the problem of transportation should be withheld and considered. The historic ‘Altıyol Highway’ connecting the districts of Alsancak to Bayraklı, in conjunction with the contemporary subway transportation ‘Izban’, running parallel to the highway, shapes a barrier, disabling the physical connection between the pedestrians to the shore. Yet, there is access for an insufficient single pedestrian bridge directed above the highway.
Urban transformation specifies a combination of multilateral, integrated, and extensive actions that have been intended to problem solving and relating to a city’s living spaces, in the context of spatial, economic and social aspects. Consequently, the aim of such development, is not restricted to spatial improvement. Though, it is vital that the concepts are identified from diverse perspectives with urban renewal, preservation, improvement and revitalisation.
Sustainable towers have been amid the debated matters of contemporary high-rise building designs in Turkey. Urban development has had a matter of significant dispute within Izmir, as newly constructed urban projects have been experiencing protests against the redevelopment of traditional settlements or rezoning of farmland for new constructions. Whilst, the re-shaping of Bayraklı is still in progress, the urban morphology of this region has started to take form by the high-rise and mixed- use developments that are currently under construction, already in use and many still in the initial design stages. The redevelopment within the area, together with the high-rises, are aimed for the upper-classed residents. With the majority of citizens from a middle-classed background, the programme is certainly improving Bayraklı’s economy, and the style of living with luxury condos, office spaces, residents and high-end malls shaping the district. Though, debates have aroused as to whether the district could experience a social division within classes, as oppose to its physical division between the districts and the coast.
Accordingly, social sustainability, in regards to the social interaction, the function of public green areas and access to possible public transportation routes are issues for Bayraklı to consider as oppose to the environmental concerns related to large-scale developments. It is noteworthy to take a look at the past few decades of the region, with no collaboration between the local authorities and contractors regarding the sustainability-related concerns.
Since the public realm foundations of private sectors are typically directed by land development codes and conditions for construction permissions, such collaborations are essential for the future of the developing metropolitan.
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