Vicinity & Hinterland of the Project Site
Intact feature of vast stretches of lands at the northern section of the Site is recently pulling considerable level of supplies of new residential developments. Direct access opportunities from the metropolitan area of Istanbul, particularly by means of motorways, stir up this process and housing comprises the major type of occupation. Even if “fine” architectural outlook is sought for the recent examples being developed at the very vicinity of the project site, there is a risk of insufficient space configuration for the whole hinterland. Indeed, lack of integrated planning and design vision for those large scale housing developments poses a problem that “introverted” kind Increasing impact of the new transit motorway project at the north, being developed by General Directorate of State Highways, confirms the latest situation as not par hazard, rather as an attempt to benefit as much possible from the location advantages. This new motorway reckons to be a part of the third metropolitan linkage passes over the Bosphorus, which is expected to substantially influence many urban settings in Istanbul. In fact, new residential settlement projects that are lining up along the route of this new motorway at the northern section of the project site are clearly one of the results of this process. A great amount of extra population, almost 1,000,000 new dwellers, is expected to be accommodated within these settlements, and it requires involving responsive planning and design considerations not only in the area, but also in metropolitan level.
Major Land Uses in the Hinterland and their Connection with the Site
Bahçeşehir is considered as rather a settlement and differentiates from the conventional mass housing examples in the area. Still given as a reference to the new developments, Bahçeşehir accomplished to provide a landscape to which the housing blocks and units successfully fit, then harmonized. Establishing a balanced spatial configuration in terms of size and dimensions of the masses and their well integration with the topographic inputs generated a convincing lay out in architectural and urban design terms. This settlement was later expanded and still undergoes mass housing developments. Subsequent large scale developments have also combined to first lay out successfully by means of following the design principles of the first “nucleus”.
There is an unprecedented scale of housing development at the northern section of the Site and Istanbul will have to bear an additional population estimated at 1,000,000. An agglomeration of new three district developments is most likely to produce overwhelming pressure to existing urban settings. Ispartakule (with 35 000 dwelling units), Resneli (with 55 000 dwelling units) and Kayabaşı (with 60 000 dwelling units) are together creating a massive burden that can only be withstood by large amount of supportive urban services and functions.
First initiated as a public driven urban transformation project, but later transferred to a private property developer for the completion, Ayazma Project demonstrates the very dynamic nature of the real estate market around the project area. Transportation investments, particularly the motorway projects in the North and the Marmaray project in the South, have undeniable influences on increasing land values. The Ayazma Project, with its size and scale, can be considered as a result of this overwhelming pressure and it is most likely to see such similar “major adjustments” in the urban transformation process in the hinterland of the Site. Previously designated as an urban transformation zone, the land has been purchased by one of the housing development companies in Istanbul, and then market conditions shaped the feature of the project. On a single plot, spans around 20 hectares, around 3000 apartments and 20 villas are due to deliver in 2013.
The Bosphorus City Project, adjacent to the site on west, is a housing project. The project is almost due to completion and depicts a rather symbolic architectural feature and emulates to revive a “Bosphorus Life” at the periphery of Istanbul. On a single plot, around 42 hectare size with 2000 apartment units and almost 670 independent units, the project reproduces the identical townscape and characteristic edifices of Bosphorus districts. Lining up residences, which are indeed “some sort of replicas” of those take place at the Bosphorus embankments, along a “Fake Bosphorus” dominates the design aspects of the project.
Like Ayazma, Altınşehir is likely to be stage to market driven urban transformation ahead. As it is located among the major housing developments along the TEM motorway, market conditions will inevitably influence the planning process to transform its low standard building fabric into rather improved one. As it spreads considerably on a large area, the process, unlike Ayazma, is expected to be developed by multiple actors. The significance of Altınşehir is that it is situated, with Yarımburgaz, on a potential ecological corridor which is likely to tie two divided natural systems: Küçükçekmece Lake and Sazlıdere Reservoir. In other words, Altınşehir will be critical where market pressures and ecological concerns need to be well compromised. The current ownership pattern do not allow to simply designating the area as a green belt, on contrary, increasing land values incite householders to maximize their ownership rights. This situation resembles the one that Yarımburgaz undergoes, but differentiates from it as the land market is much more dynamic and mobilized. In brief, an urban transformation in Altınşehir is impending.
Conventional Mass Housing Examples: Halkalı
Mass housing shapes the dominant feature of the urban pattern around the project site. From 1980s and 1990s, State Housing Authority took a pioneering role in supplying a significant amount of housing units at the peripheries of Istanbul, so does continue with an aim to provide social housing, especially for lower income groups. The Halkalı district has always played an essential role and acted as the main stage of mass housing in Istanbul for decades. Following the public sector, private property developers have also grasped the significance of the area and supplied considerable amount of dwellings as well.
İstanbul’s bid for the Olympic Games can be tracked back to the beginning of 1990s and major foundations have been set up to be awarded for the games. In 2008, Beijing caught the opportunity and finalized with an enviable success. Istanbul was one of the rivals of Beijing at that time. The Istanbul Olympic Game commissioners carried out an influential campaign. The Olympic Stadium that was completed in 2002 was the heading asset to give impetus to other Olympic game facilities. For that aim, the land nearby the Stadium was reserved to make a ground for other complementary facilities. However, the spirit for the Olympic Games to be held in Istanbul recently seems suspended. Any other flagship project, following the Stadium, has not been realized around it. But, this does not mean the whole area will continue be barren. After the completion of the underground and light rail network, the Olympic Stadium is likely to be a destination, not only for sportive facilities but also for large scale public events. Besides the major athletic and football tournaments, the Olympic Stadium hosts internationally recognized concerts and other sort of mass events.
The site, in fact, witnesses a double character of housing development at the vicinity. While large sizes of lands at the northern section have been subject to new residential developments, a vital urban transformation agenda for low standard building stock in the Küçükçekmece District is emerging. Earthquake concerns and existing vulnerability conditions of those buildings are giving the whole a strong impetus as much dominant as the new housing developments. On one hand improving the quality of life regarding the earthquake concerns is the main objective, environmental sustainability measures on the other hand are getting increasingly influential. Particularly the Southern section, where the Küçükçekmece Lake and Marmara Sea meet with an exclusive geographical composition, displays a high risk of damage according to seismic micro zone studies due to not only the soil condition but also infirm and low standard building fabric. Dominantly formed by apartments, a strip that starts from such geographically unique place then sweeps east embankments of the Lake and reaches to the motorway on the east combining the Ataturk Airport and İkitelli Industrial Zone is expected to be one focal area of this urban agenda. Planning authorities both in district and metropolitan municipalities strive to launch micro projects ahead to facilitate the transformation process here.
The north-west border of the project site, which is called the Yarımburgaz, represents a low standard urban pattern and produces damaging risks to natural life in the Reed Beds adjacent to the Küçükçekmece Lake. Although the spatial configuration in Yarımburgaz is clearly against the prevention zone regulations set for basin system and inflicting polluting factors for the Lake, urban regeneration efforts being leaded by the public authorities seem to take time due to the matter of ownership constraints. Transforming of property rights is the central issue of the planning process; however the current administrative and legal instruments are not very effective.