North Ankara City Entrance © José Chong
UN-Habitat was recently invited to participate on Debates on Tour (DoT) organized by the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI).
The DoT goal is to "promote exchange of knowledge on a global scale by discussing topical themes in architecture and urban planning at diverse locations around the world". In this opportunity, UN-Habitat and Dutch experts were invited to enter into debate with their local colleagues.
The selected country for the DoT was Turkey. From 14 to 18 October 2012, Endry van Velzen (De Nijl Architecten), Bart Vink (Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment) and José Chong (Urban Planning and Design Branch, UN-Habitat) joined the Dutch and Turkish Curators, Chris Luth and Merve Bedir on a road trip visiting different urban regeneration areas in Ankara, Bursa and Istanbul.
Under the title "Placing the mass in context", the debates focused on mass housing construction and urban regeneration in Turkey. While economic growth and booming construction industry are re-shaping the urban landscape of entire neighborhoods, communities claim for increasing public participation on urban planning processes. In addition, in response to earthquake threats, large urban areas are eligible for urban regeneration projects under a new law.
Three debates were held on the Middle East Technical University-METU (Ankara), the Chamber of architects (Bursa) and The Building Information Centre-YEM (Istanbul). The main topics discussed included: the importance of urban planning and public participation; necessity of well-design public spaces; relevance of location and accessibility; affordable housing schemes; alternatives to the "tower in the park" model; and long term sustainability of urban projects.
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