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The role of architectural heritage in the rural built environment: a case study

Başkan, Emine Gizem
The built environment has mostly evolved under the influence of cultural heritage and has been shaped in response to our needs and resources. However, rapid changes have occurred in this environment with the impacts of globalization and mass production. The impact of these changes threatens to obliterate the unique character of rural settlements, which unlike urban areas still possess cultural identity. The aim of this study was to investigate the sustainable transmission of rural building heritage to prosperity; the potential of its adaptation for new settlements; and the interpretation of designing new houses in the light of traditional ones; as an integral part of sustainable rural development. To this end, a case study was conducted in the village of Güzelöz in Kayseri, where the transition from historical to contemporary styles and techniques was readily observable. The principles for effectively implementing projects which relate to the preservation and transmission of rural heritage have been formulated in the European Rural Heritage Observation Guide (ERHOG), which was initiated by Committee of Senior Officials of the European Conference of Ministers Responsible for Regional Planning/Spatial Planning (CEMAT) and the Village Design Statement (VDS) Packs, which were initiated by the Community Councils in United Kingdom (UK). The new development in Güzelöz village, as carried out by the Ministry of Public Works and Settlement (PWS) together with additions and alterations to existing traditional houses, were studied to understand the changing needs of the villagers. A comparative analysis was made between the level of satisfaction for both the traditional houses and post-disaster houses (PDH). An evaluation according to the ERHOG and VDS criteria was conducted for both types of houses regarding the relation of buildings with their immediate vicinity; use of materials; functional requirements; and constructional concerns. The results showed the importance of the recognition and promotion of cultural heritage to create an appropriate built environment.