ID: 23
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30 March 2011 Wednesday, 11:30 - 12:30
Hall: Dolmabahce Hall

Type: Panel Discussion
Subject: Affordable Housing, Urban Planning
Organizers: Arkitera Architecture Center

Social housing is a relevant concept, especially in Turkey. It is generally perceived as creating low-cost housing supply for low-income groups and it is easy to observe that these buildings and the environment they create lack architectural and environmental quality. Moreover, there is an important question that lack of a concrete answer: Do the purchasing power and accordingly the budget shortages maintain a justifiable ground for legitimating the poor environmental qualities? In other words, is it possible to design alternative housing which will be not only cost-effective but also rich in environmental qualities by functionalization of the power of architecture and design? There is no doubt that the answer of these questions cannot be found only in the scope of architecture discipline. 
Social housing is a phenomenon that contains many components -primarily culture and economy- and is defined as an interdisciplinary problem. In this context, consuming conditions such as environmental awareness and culture are as important and determinant inputs as production conditions of physical environment. The demanded quantity of housing in Turkey is much higher than the social housing demand in many other countries. This quantity expectation is satisfied by lowering the quality of the house and its environment and underestimation of architecture. Today, although the social housing projects built especially by TOKI fill some expectations in terms of speed, quantity and budget; especially ‘one-type’ projects mostly create poor quality environments that do not satisfy contextual, social and architectural needs. One-type projects produced without minding social, cultural and physical contexts and climatic differences fail to constitute a feeling of belonging. Thus, ‘social housing’ is described not as the solution of ‘social problems’ but it’s reason and these problems do not only influence their own surroundings but also the whole cities’. Considering the economical and legal power and accordingly the production acceleration TOKI gained, it is needed to recognize this situation we are in as an opportunity to re-determine the current ‘social housing’ concept with new priorities, relevantly increase environmental standards and functionalize new models to unblock architecture.

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