Will the past be our future?

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September 18, 2012 by Tim Brown

 

Toki Is the Housing Development Agency of Turkey

When I saw the above image I thought it was making a pretty cutting commentary and went to find where it came from. I discovered TOKI is the name of the Housing Development Agency of Turkey (http://www.toki.gov.tr/). They have constructed more than 500,000 buildings across Turkey since 2002, with the goal being 1,000,000 buildings constructed by 2023. (Source: http://www.todayszaman.com)

The massive construction campaign has been undertaken in response to rapid urbanization and the need to upgrade existing housing stock and curtail construction of illegal housing and squatter developments. From what I’ve read on other websites and blogs it sounds like it has also disenfranchised entire populations and the high ideals of TOKI have gone by the wayside in favor of more profit-generating ventures. This link has a more in-depth explanation and history of what TOKI is and does http://www.tarlabasiistanbul.com/glossary/

Here’s a typical housing development they build:

It looks surprisingly similar to Pruitt-Igoe, built in St. Louis 1954-1956

and ended like this in 1976, only 22 years after it first opened……

I haven’t been able to find any aerial photos of any TOKI developments but from the photo above of, it doesn’t look like they are giving the landscape anything more than a token treatment. Is this what our future world will look like as rural life is supplanted by urbanity and globalization? If we are going to need to produce mass amounts of housing to serve population growth and offer a high quality of life, is landscape urbanism (landscape as the prime organizer of urban space as opposed to buildings) an answer to accomplish this in a way that works to promote health, well-being and equity, or are we going to repeat the mistakes of the past?

I hope to explore this more in the coming months and welcome any comments, opposing viewpoints and opinions.

_Tim

 

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