In-between preservation and economics: establishing common ground between socio-cultural and economic values for the sustainability of urban heritage places in Turkey

Özçakır, Özgün
Conservation of cultural heritage is a ‘value’ based practice. The scholars in the fields of conservation and cultural economics have been aware of the co-existence of different values including economic as well as socio-cultural ones. Both the preservationist and economist approaches emphasize the subjectivity of ‘values’ that change according to time, context and the interests of different agents when intervention decisions about heritage places are at stake. The heritage places located at the center of cities have become the arena of various interventions due to their values. To control the potentially destructive impact of interventions, heritage places in Turkey are subject to regulations for their conservation. However, in recent years, new policy instruments have been configured in order to overcome the existing control mechanisms and allow extensive interventions on heritage places in line with the interests and priorities of decision makers in Turkey. Law No. 5366/2005 on Renovating, Conserving and Actively Using Dilapidated Historical and Cultural Immovable Assets which was introduced for the transformation of renewal areas located within the boundaries of registered urban heritage places is one of the examples of new policy instruments. In order to understand different intervention approaches in urban heritage places located within renewal areas, three urban heritage places in three different contexts are chosen for this study: Tarlabaşı in İstanbul, Hacı Bayram Square with its surrounding in Ankara and Kemeraltı-Konak in İzmir. In Tarlabaşı, due to the central location of the urban heritage place, the objective became to propose new luxurious living quarter through the expropriation of private properties and the displacement of residents. In Hacı Bayram Square and its surrounding, the aim was to create a new religious center by destroying the archaeological remains belonging to Roman Period, reconstructing old buildings and constructing new buildings using pseudo traditional architectural language. In Kemeraltı-Konak, the social and cultural interests of decision makers have prevailed and interventions are proposed through the participation of different stakeholders to provide consensus between their values. The interventions in these three heritage places showed that economic, ideological or socio-cultural priorities and interests of the decision makers determine the interventions in heritage places as a result of the extensive rights that renewal law gives to local authorities. Considering the impact of the interventions in Tarlabaşı, Hacı Bayram Square with its surrounding and Kemeraltı Konak, the milieus of heritage places (physical setting, social environment and economic context) were altered and the values that they involve were changed. Three sets of relationship between interventions, values and milieus become evident to understand and assess changes: (i) values and intervention approaches, (ii) milieu and intervention approaches and (iii) values and milieus. This study aims to understand the changes in urban heritage places and propose a tool for assessing these changes. The tool proposed for the assessment of change is the Heritage Value Circle (HVC) and it relies on the interrelation between intervention approaches, the values and the milieus of heritage places. HVC is operated in the three heritage places to demonstrate its application. The study also proposes policy recommendations to provide consensus between socio-cultural and economic values for the sustainability of urban heritage places.


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Citation Formats
Ö. Özçakır, “In-between preservation and economics: establishing common ground between socio-cultural and economic values for the sustainability of urban heritage places in Turkey,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2018.