ENHR CONFERENCES 2012, Lillehammer, NORWAY
ATED COMMUNITIES IN BUILDING PLOT SCALE AND SOME LOCAL CONFLICTS IN THE FENERYOLU QUARTER OF ISTANBUL
This paper aims to analyze the changing urban fabric of Istanbul, emphasizing the discrepancies and contradictions between older housing patterns and the gated communities in plot, a significant part of the recent typology of habitation. The neighborhood of Feneryolu, which is a district on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, is selected as the research field. It is observed that there have been five different housing types since the beginning of settlement in this neighborhood.
A contradiction occurs between the existing housing pattern and newly emerging gated plots. Even though the old Turkish house was built with a concern for privacy and had concrete boundaries with pubic space, it still had a direct relation with open space through its own yard. However, the new housing formation constructs a boundary between private and public space which also results in a lack of communication with open space. This boundary is created through building safety walls and by locating the building detached from the street. Consequently, the building entrance visually became inaccessible, the ground level lost its housing function and the garden became unusable. So the relationship between public and private spaces was transformed through those changes, the house is detached from the urban space, and the street is abandoned and marginalized.
Key Words: Gated communities, apartmentalization, and housing formation.
All over the world, after 1980 political, economic, socio-cultural and spatial fragmentation, change and transformation processes have appeared in the cities as a result of globalization. Concepts like polarization, social and spatial segregation, poverty, pluralism, localization and decentralization have been put on the agenda of a new world system in Istanbul metropolitan area. A new system emerged with the aim of getting a share of the global market, by giving up production and savings; and pretending to make important individual consumption. Identification and meaning of production and consumption patterns have changed. The foremost factor impacting on the generation of gated communities in Istanbul is security concerns. After the 80s under the influence of globalization, the cities changed and an income imbalance and gap in the urban population increased. Consequently rates have also increased to threaten the inhabitants. To find a secure place to live has become an important issue for the individuals in the city. The “need for security”, the second in Maslow’s list of human needs, has become as crucial as the need for shelter. (Pulat Gokmen, 2010).
Gated community is a concept that refers to the housing formations implying identity, security and lifestyle and has developed in various cities and countries over the last three decades. Many researchers have proposed different definitions for this newly emerging lifestyle and security based settlements, namely:
1. Gated communities (Blakely and Snyder, 1997; Davis, 1992; Landsman, 2000; and Low, 2003),
2. Gated enclaves (Grant, 2003),
3. Edge cities (Garreau, 1991),
4. Enclosed neighborhoods (Landman, 200) and
5. Physically privatized areas where outsiders and insiders exist (Levent and Gülümser, 2004).
In the last decades, Istanbul has been facing rapid development of gated communities of various types. Those housing formations have emerged in the last two decades and are rising in number day by day. By November of 2011 there were 270 gated communities hosting approximately 100,000 inhabitants, in various types and sizes of houses, and offering various facilities (Pérouse, 2011). Those communities may be built as villas or flats, most of the time their interior decoration is completed and sold as turn-key projects. Whether they are single unit houses or apartment blocks, they market both the concepts of luxury, security and lifestyle. They offer a lifestyle that only high income groups can realize, in a secure zone far away from the chaos of the city center. Some of these settlements also provide its inhabitants a chance to determine who will be their new neighbors.
Peripheral gated community districts in Istanbul Kadıköy District
The archetypes of those settlements in Istanbul are the vertical housing blocks built on the large plots of demolished old, wooden mansions in the Kadıköy district. Then gated communities spread to the outskirts of the city, as they were villa communities and needed large areas. These villa-towns are designed as reproductions of old wooden mansions (konaks) in a very different context (Pérouse, 2011). The former provide only a housing function in relation to the existing urban life whereas the latter claims to be an alternative to the city with various social facilities.
As the concept of a gated community becomes widespread, there occur various types capturing different needs and tendencies of high-middle and high income groups in city. As classifying these various types of newly emerging settlements, researchers have developed different approaches to the classifications that vary according to the location of the settlement in the city, the architectural typology of the buildings or the facilities they contain.
According to Yıldız and Inalhan (2007), there are mainly four types of settlements to be discussed within the framework of that concept, namely:
1. Garden cities,
2. Gated-luxury housing,
3. Multi-story residences and
4. Mixed inner city housing.
In the context of Turkish urbanization, garden cities built as suburbs and gated-luxury houses emerged in the 1980s. The common characteristic of those two housing pattern is their peripheral location; they are new settlements at a distance from the city center. They enlarge the boundaries of the city rather than affect the density of the existing housing stock. The garden cities are mostly built for the upper-middle class and are not always gated. They may consist of villas and apartments and they offer the middle class an opportunity to have a lifestyle of their own, a personalized way of living rather than the lifestyle that the city center imposes. The gated luxury houses also emphasize the concept of a “new lifestyle” that the high income group can afford offering high security and ultra-luxury. Both of these housing typologies were outside the city center; however in the 1990s the tendency towards requiring luxury and security reached the city center (Pulat Gokmen, 2010).
The third type mentioned above, multi-story residence, is a housing type that offers services such as laundry, food, room-cleaning etc. Those services refer to the life style that middle-high and high income groups are searching for (Yıldız and Inalhan, 2007). As they are providing lifestyle, luxury and security, they were also close to the city center. They were not renewal of the existing neighborhood pattern but mostly were extensions of the city center. The mixed inner city housing also includes social facilities, shopping centers and office blocks. The latest examples such as the Kanyon project are close to the city center and transportation nodes but draw their boundaries through security gates and architectural design.
Kemer Country - Single unit houses resembling old wooden konaks
Alkent 2000 - Single unit houses referring to various historical styles in an eclectic way
According to Levent and Gülümser (2004), gated communities in Turkey are classified as:
· Vertical gated developments,
· Horizontal gated developments,
· Semi-horizontal gated developments and
· Mixed type gated communities - town gated communities.
The first type refers to the high-rise housing blocks located close to the city center and the central business district. In Turkey, this type of blocks is defined as “residences” and is designed in relation with shopping malls or office blocks. The second type of housing consists of single housing units, built on large areas and mostly situated on the urban periphery. The semi-horizontal gated developments are apartment blocks situated in the city center whereas the latter type represents a gated “town” of different types of housing types (Levent and Gülümser, 2004).
Mixed-use vertical gated settlement
In summary, gated settlements in Turkey vary in some of their characteristics but imply being closed to the “outside world” which is the public space of the city. Whether they are situated on the periphery or close to the city, they are newly emerging plots rather than replacements for the existing buildings. While the gated settlements of the 1980s and 1990s extended the built-area of the urban fabric, there has been a tendency to renew the existing housing stock in last decade. In Turkey, that “existing housing stock”, that is to say a major part of the urban fabric, is mostly composed of apartment block neighborhoods.
This paper aims to extend the concept of ‘gated community’ beyond existing definitions and classifications through investigating the impacts on inner city neighborhoods. To understand the effect of the “gated settlements in plot scale” formations on the neighborhoods, first the change of the notion of housing in the selected area is to be discovered. The housing history of the area and the story of the transformation of the houses from konaks to “gated” apartment blocks were revealed through detailed archival studies, and the effect of that change on the relations between house and street is tried to be understood.
After defining the layers of transformation, newly emerging apartment block types are discussed in terms of their resemblance with gated settlements. The gated communities in Turkey are mostly situated around the periphery of the city. Single housing units are hidden behind walls. The concept of safe housing in city center is exemplified as “residences”. Though those residences are in the city center, they are not connected with the city as part of the usual housing pattern of the city. The transformation of that pattern, which is a combination of an organic relation between housing units and streets, into a pattern of detached gated blocks is a new tendency which has irreversible effects on the structure of the urban space.
Case Study: Transformation of the neighborhood into a housing pattern composed of detached, gated settlements on plot scale
Borough of Kadıköy and the Feneryolu District
The selected area, the Feneryolu district, is a neighborhood in the borough of Kadıköy in Istanbul. This neighborhood became an area of settlement in the late 19th century. The first housing pattern of the neighborhood was the wooden mansions situated on large plots with a high concern for privacy. By the 1940s those large plots were divided into smaller plots and single housing units were built on each. The strong privacy of the wooden houses was transformed into a high degree of openness to the street. After single housing units with the rise of apartmentalization in Turkey, Feneryolu was also affected and four-story apartment blocks became the dominant typology of the neighborhood. Despite some changes in building codes, in the 1970s the apartment blocks were allowed to be built up to 7 floors. Although the vertical character of the neighborhood changed, the architectural style of the block remained similar to the former examples, and the relation between house and street was still in a very direct manner. In the 1980s the direction of the apartmentalization process shifted to a more closed relation with the public space, and private space started to lose contact with the street. Concurrently, the concept of gated communities rose in these years. This development of the newly emerging notion of security and being closed to the outer world affected the inner city. As the elevation of the house was an interface to contend with life in the street in the early periods of housing development of the district, in the last phase of the housing story of the district, it became a boundary surface to detach the house from the public space. The gated settlement in plot scale is not a housing typology which emerged all of a sudden, but which came into existence through the constant change and transformation of the existing housing patterns under the influence of global housing tendencies.
First Layer: The wooden mansions in gardens Second Layer: Single Housing Units
Third and fourth layers: Early apartmentalization Fifth Layer: Examples of high-rise apartments
Sixth Layer: Gated settlement in plot scale
To understand the current house-street structure of the neighbor, it is significant to understand how that structure was before the last phase of the housing pattern. The layers of transformation in Feneryolu are namely:
1. First Layer: wooden single houses (beginning of the 20th century),
2. Second Layer: single housing unit (1930s-1964),
3. Third Layer: early apartments, -low rise blocks (1964-1973),
4. Fourth Layer: early apartments, middle rise blocks (1973-1985),
5. Fifth Layer: late apartment blocks, detaching the house from the street (1980s-1990s) and
6. Building the boundary to the street: gated settlements in plot scale (1990s-present day).
First layer Second Layer
Third & Fourth Layer Fifth Layer
Figure 1: Relation between house and the street at all layers
First Layer: Wooden Single Houses (Konaks)
Feneryolu is one of the suburbs of Istanbul emerging at the beginning of the 20th century. The railroad between Kadıköy and Gebze started functioning in 1908 and Feneryolu was one of the stations on that route. The neighborhood became a summer house settlement consisting of wooden mansions/konaks on large plots, covered with a garden of dense trees. Those konaks are comparable to gated communities, but unlike them, they did not exclude urban life and the street. They only provided privacy for the inhabitants. This privacy was achieved by placing the konak in the center of the plot and curtaining the house through trees. In the early times of the neighborhood, the street pattern used to be very different from the current pattern. There was the main road, called “Feneryolu Avenue” and all konaks were connected to that road through garden gates and porticos leading to the house building. The yards of the konaks were open to neighbors’ visits and used daily. The privacy of konaks was not an attempt to exclude outsiders. As there was not any street pattern, there was no concern about the relation between the house and the street. A konak is an intimate housing space greatly benefiting from the garden. As can be seen in the table, the elevation of the konak was very transparent and opens to the garden. Konaks were not gated settlements with the building of security walls or barbed wire fences. As is common in every period of change, they were the agents of a new lifestytle. This was an inherent outcome of the house, and was not prompted through ads or marketing techniques. Also the wooden konak pattern did not imply gathering a community of similar income groups and lifestyles. Figure 1 shows the relations between the house itself, the garden and the street. The konak is a complete entity with its housing space and its garden. The contact between the house and its outdoor space is very direct.
Second Layer: Single Housing Unit (1930s-1964)
In the Early Republican period, the single housing units were the symbols of a modern life. As the wooden mansions symbolized the Ottoman way of life, the architectural style of housing was also transforming along with the young republic (Bozdoğan, 2005). Those houses demostrated common characteristcs with the wooden mansions in terms of their being independent and their high level of interaction with the outer space of the building itself. A very dramatic change between the two layers was that the latter became more open to the street. Street, garden and house became integrated and the privacy of the wooden mansion was weakened. However, the effective usage of the garden was common in both types. The whole garden was used by a single family and it was the extension of the housing unit. Only a low fence would separate the plot and the garden, whereas the mansion was hidden behind the trees (Figure 1).
Third layer and fourth layer: Early apartment block period (1964-1985)
After the law of divided co-ownership was insured, owners of single housing units built apartment blocks on their plots. A rapid change in the density and height of the district occurred, and new, four-story apartments became the dominant type. In spite of that shift from independent houses to shared apartment blocks, the street-house relation was not damaged. Housing blocks were located very close to the street and the elevation facing the public space was highly transparent. Also the balconies acted as an extension of the house to the street in order to maintain the “interface” function of the housing unit. As the gardens were under the ownership of multiple inhabitants, the frequency of their usage was weakened when compared to the former layers of independent houses.
The fourth layer identified in Feneryolu consists of middle-rise apartment blocks, built between the years 1973-1985. These housing units with varying heights between 5-7 storys were very similar to the third layer in terms of openness to the street, having transparent elevations and large balconies. The only change that was detected was the decrease in the green areas of the plot and the spreading of concrete pavements and parking lot areas.
Fifth Layer: Late Apartment Blocks - Detaching the house from the street
Until the middle of the 1980s, building codes would enable houses to be built up to a pre-determined height. However the municipalities introduced an “unrestrained height” regulation which determined the maximum height of the building according to the plot area and the base area of the building. This regulation gave way to the high-rise apartments that started to dominate the district. Other than the obvious change in the silhouette of the neighborhood, the public-private relations and street-house fabric changed. As the housing block rose in height, the elevation became opaque in comparison to the former apartment blocks. Elevation transforms from being an interface towards being a boundary, with some kind of a wall enclosing the private space to the public space. The green paved area turned into a transitional area and a parking lot which was very rarely used for daily activities.
Another important change was that the balconies were designed smaller than earlier apartment blocks and were mostly used as a storage area. In some examples balconies are enclosed by PVC elements. Both the balconies and gardens were used less, and the relation between the house and the outdoor usages started to disappear from the regular physical and behavioral pattern of the district. This layer of housing can be considered as a crucial step of formation of the “gated settlement in plot scale”.
Sixth Layer: Constructing the boundary to the street: “Gated settlements in plot scale”
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the housing pattern in Feneryolu has gone through a constant change which has produced six different, co-existing layers of housing. Until the 1980s the house was in direct contact with outdoor space and, konaks being an exception, with the street. However since the 1980s the housing block started to be an enclosed private space. Exporting the concept of security from the trend of gated communities in the city, security cabins and entrance lobbies started to appear. Also the placement of the apartment block has changed. As in the early apartmentalization period, the building is placed in the nearest part of the plat to the street; the enclosed housing block shifts to a location at a distance from the street. An entrance gate is also a typical feature of that typology.
Balconies which functioned as an extension of the closed private space in relation to the public space of the street, completely disappears and the elevation becames a mere surface only to act as the boundary between the indoors and outdoors. The pool seen in the example above is also an element designed with the impact of the housing trends on a global scale. Another important feature are the advertisements on billboards of the construction sites of these new emerging blocks, depicting the interior decoration of the dwelling to future inhabitants. Both the fabric of the neighborhood and the physical features of the housing blocks have dramatically changed in the last two decades.
CONCLUSION: Contradiction of coexistence of the existing urban tissue and the divided neighborhoods
The idea of the gated community is a concept which has emerged since the 1980s and is spreading in the urban space in different forms and characteristics. Gated communities mainly refer to settlements excluding the city whether built on the periphery or close to the city center, and expand new housing areas. As they are shaping the city, they also have impact on the existing city pattern. The housing stock in the city is constantly changing and renewing itself by producing a layered structure of neighborhoods. These layers are also affected by the global housing trends. In the last two decades gated community development has started to transform the neighborhoods in the city center.
Other than the existing classification of gated communities, the case study that this research is based on demonstrates a newly emerging housing tendency which is defined as “gated communities in plot scale”. When a new gated settlement is built on an empty lot, its effect on a city occurs in terms of expanding the built area by constructing new relations with the existing city space. However when the existing housing stock is transformed, the inherent relations of the city space are deconstructed in a very different context. As the old housing pattern which has a direct relation with the street and outdoor space is still in use, these enclosed and exclusive formations of housing start to spread over the housing tissue. So this encounter of an inclusive way of settlement and the gated settlements in plot scale result in a contradiction and differentiation in the urban space. It is observed that in the last decade, of the Feneryolu district has been transformed and most of the construction has taken place since 2006. When it is considered that the other neighborhoods in the city would also exhibit such tendencies, it can be foreseen that through this transformation, the gated way of housing will be the dominant typology in the city and the existing organization of the city will change irreversibly. The contact between the private space of house and the public space of the street will be broken and the neighborhood will be stacks of detached housing units, abandoned streets and concrete parking lots rather than an integrated composition of streets, gardens and houses.
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Burcu ARIKAN (Architect)
Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, Taskisla, Taksim, 34437 Istanbul, Turkey,
Prof. Dr. Gulçin PULAT GOKMEN
Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, Taskisla, Taksim, 34437 Istanbul, Turkey,