Planning for sustainable communities in suburban residential Neighbourhoods : the case of Ümitköy, Ankara

Açmaz Özden, Melda
This research mainly focuses on the notions of liveable and sustainable community within suburban residential neighbourhoods. The concepts of ‘community’ and ‘sustainability of communities’, which have been studied within the context of urban planning, as well as many other disciplines within the framework of urban studies are of inevitable importance in terms of developing healthy and liveable cities and urban spaces. This study, therefore, intends to provide us with a theoretical framework to discuss and evaluate the sustainable community concept in urban environment, specifically in Turkey. It also evaluates the capacity of this theoretical framework to be used as an assessment instrument for communities. The highly limited understanding of sustainability in the urbanization process causes considerable problems among the communities in urban areas. The growing problems and piecemeal solutions to them indicate the complexity of urban planning and urbanization processes. Particularly since the 1980s, some Turkish cities have been experiencing rapid urbanization and suburbanization. The suburbanization concept, which is another focus of this research, has been developed as an alternative solution to the complex problems of city centres and residential neighbourhoods within the immediate vicinity of city centres, such as inadequate quality of life, insufficient housing supply, and the desire for new life styles. Liberal policies which reinforce this tendency have led to the re-definition of urban practices and today’s urbanization problems. The sustainable community concept, which constitutes the major focus of this study, has emerged around the 2000s in the international planning and urbanization studies. Developed countries have determined, as their major objective, the enhancement of sustainable community, and they have identified their urban planning policies according to this view-point. Sustainable communities are liveable social, spatial, environmental, economic, and administrative elements. Urban problems such as impairment in the quality of life, unhealthy and unsafe environment, weaknesses of social network, loss of sense of place and community are provided with solutions through sustainable community building/development in micro-scale. Usually defective policies and inappropriate approaches have been observed in Turkish urban growth and suburbanization practices, as well as practices under the illumination of international experiences. Therefore, the key motivation of this research is to remedy this deficiency and to provide an exemplary study for local planning application related to sustainable communities in micro-scale. This study focuses on the assessment and analysis of sustainable communities in suburban residential neighbourhoods. The research aims to identify the sustainable community components, or indicators, of suburban residential areas. The research examined the case study areas according to these sustainable community indicators, which have been identified through the literature review. The case study areas were selected in Ümitköy, a suburban residential neighbourhood of Ankara, and the community, neighbourhood and sustainability concepts were examined here. The research has selected case study areas with different spatial and design characteristics to understand how sustainable community development concept is influenced by spatial design. Thus, the research seeks to understand the reciprocal relationship (or interaction) between spatial design and sustainable community development. Additionally, the research findings obtained particularly from the suburban residential areas are discussed in relation with specific and pre-determined sustainable community components. The findings of the case studies in Ümitköy indicate the need for an approach towards sustainable community development within the planning and design processes from the neighbourhood scale to the scale of housing cluster in suburban areas.
Citation Formats
M. Açmaz Özden, “Planning for sustainable communities in suburban residential Neighbourhoods : the case of Ümitköy, Ankara ,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2013.