A joint initiative of the Arnavutköy Municipality and the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, in the context of the 5th IABR: Making City, the Atelier Istanbul was established in order to develop a Strategic Vision and Action Plan for Arnavutköy area that would recognize and integrate (instead of negating) both the forces of social, economic and urban transformation and the ecological and environmental urgencies.
In Arnavutköy, protected natural areas supplying the city with drinking water are confronted with rapid urbanization. To this dilemma between preservation and growth, the strategic vision replies with an alternative scenario that turns the situation around: it creates a system where urbanization and landscape depend upon each other for survival. The new city is concentrated on the ridge of the basin. It recycles and treats its water output in order to irrigate and feed consecutive agriculture and natural zones inside the basin, which in turn relieve heat islands in the city. Furthermore, each landscape zone is shaped to acquire undeniable, physical presence. Given presence and life, this productive landscape prevents uncontrolled growth and thus protects the water basin. The direct relationship between urban and landscape additionally produces a specific living environment, where advantages of urban life are coupled to an abundance of nature within a hand’s reach.
This strategy, reproduced around other basins, can result in a sustainable urban configuration for Istanbul. Currently, pilot sites in the area are prepared for further elaboration, in collaboration with the local and central administration.