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Abstract _ Haluk Ulusan

Urbanizing housing in global Istanbul

The main discussion of the research is the improvement of urbanity in residential environments of Istanbul in terms of their physical, aesthetical and socio-cultural determinants. Istanbul, with its rapidly changing residential environments and city image, has been exposed to a radical neoliberal restructuring process over the past decades. Change of the architectural language, evolving  typologies due to the shift of production paradigms towards an immense speed and the increasing involvement of the living environments within the metropolitan sphere have been the stimulating force of the rising alienation of these in their dwellers perception. The harmonic existence of different layers and the unique cultural context which once shaped the residential  architecture, are being challenged by the design and production paradigms of Western International Style. In frame of the assumptions of this study, architectural form and space both presuppose and contribute to various shared existential qualities with a strong emphasis on urbanity in living environments. As an attempt to describe the significant landscape of change occupying residential environments in terms of their typology, shape, production method and urbanity, the process of the dissertation can be described as an insightful study related to the material and cultural aspects through architectural examination of how the design aesthetics and paradigms of previous and recent buildings largely emphasized the local culture and transnational influences and how a more comprehensive architecture would accommodate an environmental experience of increased urbanity in its contemporary and local relevances.

The most important point to the correct methodological design is about describing the term urbanity both according to Western discourses and in Istanbul’s local context.´In order to constitute the theoretical frame two different main bodies of literature are going to be surveyed. The interpretative historical research will go through early phases of design and planning paradigms, as well as socio-cultural and aesthetical features in housing environments in Istanbul and the development of the term urbanity in Western discourse. The archival research and readings on historical material will cover the international influences and local realities that originate from the past. Since the literature on urbanity discourse is rather limited in Turkish discourse, cultural material such as novels,  photographs, artistic works and movies will be conducted as well.The synthesis of these both then will provide a filter as the  theoretical frame which represents a specific form of urbanity in Istanbul’s socio-cultural, aesthetical and paradigmatic terms and in local context of dynamics. This filter will be applied to the case studies so that the topic of inquiry can be evaluated in the unique context of the locality. The qualitative readings on 3 different case studies (housing in neighborhoods, suburban developments and big housing developments) and the phenomenological evaluation of the collected data will unfold the determinants of urbanity and the opportunities which would contribute to improvements and the aforementioned dialect between space, time and culture in its contemporary relevance. The qualitative analysis in field studies will be carried out with the support of graphical expressions which would contribute to the unfolding of architectonical qualities.

In light of aforementioned explanations the disertation aims to achieve a set of design paradigms which would mind the aesthetical, socio-cultural, anthropological-communicative and urban qualities of the housing environments and contribute to the making of a better corresponding design paradigms in local reality. The research will not only remain within the limits of given scientific discourse so far, but it will also go through the informal material that might contribute to the conceptualization of urbanity in Istanbul upon the phenomenological evaluation. The range of the qalitative research will be limited to the past 30 years of Istanbul, as this time period represents the emergence of neo-liberalization and globalization within housing districts. The periods before will be worked out and evaluated within interpretive historical research.The large number of indicators that affect the condition, emergence and even displacement of urbanity within housing environments make it impossible to understand the situation by examining simple segments of design process alone. The design process is result oriented and fragmented and in many cases lacks the coherence the research activity contains. The environmental experience and the complexity of correlations between different determinants call for the phenomenological considerations to be in foreground. In addition to the qualities that shape the existence of urbanity in living environments, the attention of the study is also
directed towards processes and properties that form the design activity regarding these. The implicit body of knowledge that shapes the design activity will be attempted to be made an explicit approach, which then could be used and focused as the reflection of the research in architecture.