Handling Sub-Soil Urban Archaeological Resources In Urban Planning, Issues In İzmir Historic City Centre

Belge, Burak
In Turkey, although most of the historic city centres have been continuously occupied since early ages, urban archaeological resources –cultural deposits underneath modern cities- could not be handled into planning process. It will be possible to strike the right balance provided that the archaeological resources are evaluated and considered in each stage of the planning and development process. At that point, urban archaeology is considered as an interdisciplinary field of study that evaluates the cultural stratification in cities and understands the historical background of urban life, while urban planning is a decision-making process on the development of urban areas and planners as a mediator between actors with varying interests. In any case, since the earliest stages of the planning process, as a necessity, urban planners should be well-informed about the urban archaeological resources, but the most of urban planners in Turkey are not still well equipped about archaeological resource management in historic city centre. There are instances when, the incapacities caused even the deliberate destruction of urban archaeological resources, deliberately. Tuna (1999, 222) points out another dimension of dilemma, as urban archaeological resources are mostly seen as obstacles that should be eliminated or ignored for urban development in the Turkish planning experience. In a defined context, evaluation of real archaeological potential in historic city centres is one of the crucial problems in handling of archaeological resources. Especially archaeological resources underneath modern cities could not be identified effectively because of varying incapability in the databases and spatial analysing methods. International interest has increased on the specific topic of the dilemma between archaeology and planning since 1980s. While international suggestions are developed for the conservation and enhancement of the archaeological heritage as a matter of urban and regional planning policies, national legal and administrative frameworks have been developed forthe integration of archaeological resources to planning process. These documents underline the lack of a prior understanding between archaeologists and planners, who are seen as natural enemies (Hester, 1989, 233) and enhance the crucial role of an archaeological database in the planning process to prevent archaeological remains from irreversible destructions. Therefore, the study describes a simple framework to handle sub-soil urban archaeological resources into the planning processes by means of urban archaeological databases and spatial analysing of varying sets of data.


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In Turkey, the majority of the historic city centres have been continuously occupied since early ages onwards and where still occupation exists. The multi-layered structure of historic centres both can indicate the historical continuity of cities and enhance urban consciousness, if urban archaeological resources are handled effectively into planning process. However, the recent policies and strategies don̕t allow the handling of urban archaeological resources, especially invisible sub-soil resources, into p...
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Citation Formats
B. Belge, “Handling Sub-Soil Urban Archaeological Resources In Urban Planning, Issues In İzmir Historic City Centre,” ODTÜ Mimarlık Fakültesi Dergisi, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 331–350, 2012, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: http://jfa.arch.metu.edu.tr/archive/0258-5316/2012/cilt29/sayi_2/331-350.pdf.