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Questioning the spatial boundaries in suburban residential sites in Ankara: the case of Koru neighborhood

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2020
Bilir, Zeliha Irmak
As in many other professional disciplines, ‘spatial boundaries’ has been one of the current critically important research topics in the field of urban design. With the fast increase in population, urban areas which have rapidly sprawled, have brought increasingly our attention towards the importance of spatial boundaries in cities. Especially residential site borders have recently become a basic research topic since they have started to become more and more dominant urban design elements in urban areas. 'Spatial boundaries' perform various important functions. However, in urban areas, it has become more and more ambiguous how far spatial borders (for example, as the borders of residential sites) successfully and effectively fulfill these functions. Being located at the intersection of public and private spheres, and functioning to restrict visual and physical permeability, they affect the quality of urban areas. The major assumptions of this thesis lie on the residential border’s inability to fulfill their functions and their negative impact on being visually and physically impermeable. The assumptions of this research are tested in a prominent middleclass suburb in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, through the direct observation, documenting and mapping of spatial boundaries of the 52 residential sites in Koru Neighborhood. This research examines the height, material, and visual and physical vi permeabilities of residential site boundaries, and maps them through color codes in order to understand their effects on urban areas. The research findings reveal that the spatial boundaries partly fulfill the functions of safety and security, giving identity, providing privacy, dualism, determining psychosocial behavior, dividing and providing order functions, and features in this neighborhood. It studies the visual and physical permeability level of residential site borders under the urban design principles, and the research findings reveal that impermeable borders negatively affect character, continuity, ease of movement, and access to green areas actively and passively. To convert these negative effects to positive ones, and to benefit from advantages of permeable borders that are rarely utilized, this thesis suggests that the boundaries, which are impossible to vanish, should be low, visually permeable or semi-permeable, especially in highrise apartment building’s sites. It also proposes that the spatial borders should be physically permeable or semi-permeable for pedestrians, and be made of evergreen plant material. If this is not desired by users, this research suggests that, at least, evergreen plant material should be used as spatial boundaries to support public health by letting people access green passively.