An approach to urban river rehabilitation for coexistence of river and its respective city: Porsuk river case and city of Eskişehir

Şimşek, Gül
All living things mostly the humans, as builders of civilizations, have always been in intrinsic bonds with water. This interaction between water (oceans, seas, lakes, rivers etc.) and settlements has existed since ancient civilizations. Among water resources, ‘flowing waters’ such as rivers, streams, creeks, etc. have a prominent role as they are the lifeblood of most cities in terms of providing transportation, security, energy, irrigation, commerce, and recreation. By the late 19th century, developments of terrestrial transportation modes diminished the magnetism of rivers and riverfronts, and growing industries led to the deterioration of rivers. Owing to these reasons, along with many others, they turned into sewage channels, were covered up, and became water scopes detached from the urban life. Particularly since the 1970s, with more attention given to sustainability of resources, a greater awareness has grown of the vital role of urban rivers as a resource for humans and a lifeline for cities. After being neglected for decades, urban rivers have started to be rehabilitated to solve the related problems. The new approach to urban river rehabilitation beyond classical practices that aim at recovering the physical conditions of rivers has come to the fore to address the problems comprehensively. Instead of independent and one-dimensional practices, the urban rivers have become to be seen as a vital part of urban water system and of the city itself. While rehabilitating urban rivers, recovering river health can be ensured provided that the entire urban water ecosystem is taken into consideration. The ecocity approach is one of the major new approaches that geared toward achieving a healthy city, and sustainability of water system is the significant goal within this approach. In this regard, the thesis first asserts that the ecocity criteria are likely to give way to a more sustainable future for urban rivers. Besides being a part of the ecosystem, urban rivers have transformed together with the surrounding built environment throughout the history of cities. Significant focal elements of the urban pattern, urban rivers should be dealt with other urban focal points, with the introduced concept of river-city integration, which is proposed as the second assertion of the thesis. In this respect, the study attempts to investigate urban rivers and their rehabilitation in relation with both the ecocity approach, and the river-city integration concept. The research methodology in the present study involves comparative anaysis of best practices and case study analysis. Porsuk River and the city of Eskişehir, which the river passes through, were selected as a case for empirical study. Criteria sets that determined within the frames of ecocity and river-city integration, and the testing of the criteria in the case area offers an opportunity to contribute to literature of river and city coexistence.
Citation Formats
G. Şimşek, “An approach to urban river rehabilitation for coexistence of river and its respective city: Porsuk river case and city of Eskişehir,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2011.