In the future more projects in the fields of architecture and landscape design would be welcome. There are possibilities for collaboration on an educational, professional, cultural and multi-disciplinary level.
Organize (digital) meetings
First and foremost there is a need for more contacts between actors in the fields of architecture and landscape design and even in the field of urban planning in order to explore similarities, differences and global issues that actors in this field have to deal with. It is advisable for the industry players such as academics, architects and other industry professionals to meet or have video conferences in order to explore on which of the many possible topics are relevant for Turkey and the Netherlands the focus should be placed. The topics below give a first indication about what kind of topics may be discussed.
Like other almost all other disciplines, architecture and urban planning also have problems with archiving, however some archives exist and may be open to collaborate. Dutch professionals that have seen these archives expressed that they are a valuable source to study the development of Modernism in Turkey.
Cooperate in architecture education
According to Nurbin Paker Kahvecioğlu, international collaboration in architecture education on research and development, technology transfer and consulting services in the emerging specialist fields such as the production of recyclable intelligent building materials by using new technologies, new environment-friendly energy systems, high-tech structure designs, digital technologies, organization and optimization of project designs and implementations is now considered essential in Turkey. Pressures created by climate change, energy, environmental issues, natural disasters, population increase and urbanization direct architectural implementations to collaborate with other disciplines in search of innovative approaches which encompass new technologies. In line with these developments, architectural education has to change. Existing partners such as Delft Technology University in the Netherlands can also be partners for creative cooperation in education and research activities in Turkey. The interest of the Netherlands in working with Turkey is that in Turkey there is experience with earthquakes and uncontrolled urbanization and there are professionals working on those topics.
Set up architects-in-residencies
A group of young practicing architects both from Turkey and the Netherlands may go on a 3 to 6 months ‘residency’ program. The idea is that they’ll work together with a hosting architectural office on actual projects with real clients in the other country. The experience will help architects to learn about building conditions and clients in a totally different context. They will experience particular problem solving methods in a totally different business environment. In the end they will return back with invaluable professional and cultural experiences that will be reflected upon their future projects. An architect-in-residency program will enable the architects on both countries to understand each other's professional motivations better.
Discuss Dutch real estate development in Turkey
Since mid-2000s there is a boom in Turkish real estate sector. Several Dutch companies are playing a major role in this new era of Turkish real estate. Mostly concentrating on shopping centers, firms like Corio, Redevco and Multi are making considerable amounts of investments not only in Istanbul but also in many middle to large scale cities in Turkey. The shopping centers that these firms have been developing have economic and social effects on the Turkish cities in which they are building. This may be the subject of discussion in areas like real estate, urban planning, sociology, architecture etc. Questions that can be raised: Who is in power in shaping today’s cities? How shopping centers act as new public spaces? What is the knowledge that the Dutch firms are bringing to Turkey and how do they adapt it to local conditions? How do Dutch real estate companies interpret the user behavior of people in Turkey?
Support Turkish Landscape designers interested in NL
Young Turkish landscape architects/academicians such as Ata Turak, Arzu Nuhoğlu, and Oktan Nalbantoğlu look at the Netherlands for inspiration in order to regenerate the landscape architecture in Turkey. Landscape architecture is a field in which practical results in the context of Dutch-Turkish collaboration can be achieved. Tekfen Holding may be interested to collaborate on some Turkish-Dutch botanical garden projects focused on flower bulbs in either Istanbul (Topkapi) or Gaziantep. Both the Keukenhof and the Floriade want to focus on Turkey in 2012.
Support design + ecological thinking
According to Gökhan Karakuş the wetlands and swamps of Istanbul are an important part of the landscape of Istanbul that have been largely ignored or eradicated in the uncontrolled growth of the city in the last 30 years. Professionals in the Netherlands are talking about how some lands can be returned as ‘natural’ wetlands and about what parts of the land can be flooded first when water levels in the sea or rivers rise above safe levels.
There is an interest in Turkey to collaborate on strategies regarding how urbanization and the wetlands can develop together. On the urban and architectural scales Istanbul presents a collection of areas where the technical and social impacts of the wetlands can be addressed by design strategies combined with ecological thinking. The collaborators can work on alternative urban design strategies and building types for the wetlands area of Istanbul to encourage the recovery of these environments for biodiversity and human habitation.
Discuss Dutch architecture policies with TR
The Chamber of Architects of Turkey has been trying to set up an Architectural Policy since 2005 and it will be of great value to know the meaning of having an Architectural Policy in the Netherlands' case. Particularly, the Turkish side is interested to know what are the pros and cons of an Architectural Policy.
Support research on the urban environment
The mechanisms that shape the urban environment in each country and in each city are different. Building regulations, decision systems, approval methods, complicated bureaucratic rules all differ. Ömer Kanipak wants to make the building codes and urban regulations in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Istanbul and Ankara will be examined in detail and with the help of info graphic artists. An interactive feature/website may be build, which will enable the visitors to experience how small changes in building codes or the ratios in building regulations can affect the shape of the urban environment. With this project, Ömer Kanipak aims to make it easier to understand the preferences and motivations of Dutch and Turkish societies regarding formation of the urban environment.
Dutch and Turkish architects differ quite a bit in their perception and appreciation of standardization. This is reflected in how they value the situation in each other’s country. Turkish architects love the fact that the Netherlands is so well organized and crave a bit more standardization in Turkey, whilst the Dutch architects love the fact that Turkey is so dynamic and original. They are looking for ways to allow more spontaneous behavior in the Netherlands. This could be a nice issue to focus on.
Support urban engagement
According to Alexis Şanal a discourse on ‘livability’ needs to be started between the Netherlands and Turkey. Cities like Istanbul and Rotterdam have in common that they are multi-cultural harbor cities, but at the same time reflect the very different urban cultures of Northwest and Southeast Europe. The priorities, curiosities, participation, behaviors and engagement of metropolis’ citizens, residents and visitors can be explored through the use of narratives, questions and social media. In Turkey the decision making process is mostly top-down. The Netherlands with ‘inspraak’ has more ways to ensure communication and bottom-up decision making processes. Especially open space, common space, public space, city rooms (courtyards, plazas, squares), streets, thoroughfares and pathways are easily accessible by most city residents and can contribute to livability of the urbanscape. Some open source and participatory projects may be supported in the areas of landscape architecture, urban social life, responsive environments, social learning and community oriented self-governance, regional ecology (including urban natural systems and energy means) and diversity of residents in order to create engagement with the build environment and the quality of life these environments may bring. More bottom-up approaches are needed in urban planning in the public sphere. Urban planning used to be a public activity but in the last 15 years the private sphere took over.
Support alternative expressions on urbanism
The Netherlands may collaborate in urban activism and urban exploring activities; there are many alternative ways to interact with cities. Nobody tried to mix extreme sports with urban exploring in Istanbul, nobody bungee jumped of the Bosporus Bridge or initiated underwater exploration of cisterns for artistic purposes. Urban activists have made some alternative maps of Istanbul municipalities, and attitudes towards urban regeneration. But so much more is possible in this field. Some night-life figures in Istanbul would like to see less tame expressions of urban engagement and more action.
Support reoccurring architectural events
Turkey's one and only Architectural Festival was held in Istanbul in 2004 which was organized by the Arkitera Architecture Center. For some time there have been attempts to organize an architecture biennial. There is a wish to set up a architecture biennale with IABR (The International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam) and the Sao Paolo municipality in Brazil. The Brazilians give full support to realize the biennale on their parts but it is still uncertain if Istanbul municipality will give a hand to this collaboration.
Explore Turkey with European colleagues
According to the Goethe Institute in Istanbul there is hardly any cultural collaboration between Turkey and Germany in Architecture and Urbanism. The German architecture organizations are interested in Turkey but are at the very beginning of their explorations. Since the Dutch Architecture Fund also is at the start of their explorations it may be useful to combine study trips and other more general explorative activities.
Support cross-disciplinary + multi-national teams
The Netherlands are seen as being strong in cross-disciplinary teamwork. The architect has to use all required knowledge regarding the design problem. Thus, the scope of any architectural study cannot be limited to the so called field of “architecture”, which has no clear borders. (Demir, 2000). In Turkey a holistic approach is needed in order to deal with many challenges. Practically collaborations could emerge in projects combining restoration (monumental) – city planning (surrounding) – industrial design (street elements) and sanitary wares because industrial designers makes these, but architects buy them.
Films on urban issues
The Netherlands are seen as one of the leading countries in the field of documentary film production (a.o. IDFA). According to Aysim Türkmen the Dutch documentary sector would contribute to as well as benefit from collaboration with the thriving documentary scene in Turkey. Workshops and seminars on developing documentary projects about urban issues in both countries will facilitate the making of and distributing documentary films as well as capturing and expressing the particularities and contradictions of the globalizing cities in the neoliberal world. Matchmaking and a film festival may be organized. There is an audience for films about specific topics in Turkey and there exist several festivals on a wide variety of topics. 60% of the audience of such festivals is under 30 years old.
Mix fashion, design and architecture
From the viewpoint of the creative class, Turkey is potentially a rich resource. Some cities embrace their transformation completely and transform themselves as a whole. Istanbul is one of the cities transforming itself by adding beside its known historical and cultural layers, the components of alternative life-styles like fashion, design and architecture. The constant interaction between different expressions and life-styles and the fast changing society, in which they occur, open up possibilities for creative individuals to compose their own mix and try out unique languages and codes which are continuously renewed. The underlying reason of the abandonment of accustomed patterns in the fashion, design, architecture and even culinary/gastronomic world and the opening of brand new places results in new focal points in the cities.
Study the eighties in Turkey
The eighties are the period where the transformation that Turkey still goes on, became the most visible. In the eighties, after the coup d’état when the country opened up to the world and with the widening and diversification of urban life, popular culture became legitimate in Turkey. The masses could learn about urban life partly due to improving communication channels and began to consume it as a commodity. The physical changes of Istanbul and other urban areas during the eighties affected everyday life and the way Turkish people related to the city as well as the way these changes contributed to the formation of an urban discourse (informed by how the popular media reported on these changes) are subjects that deserve special attention.