Life in a high-rise
Surveying opinions and expectations on social housing in Turkey
What does encourage people to spend their time outdoors of their residences? Is it the weather? Is it the enclosure? Is it the safety of their neighborhood? Currently, the Turkish government faces social and spatial disintegration in urban areas. Different ethnicities, beliefs and income levels in the cities divide society. In the last decades, the Turkish Mass Housing Administration - known as TOKI - has altered the silhouette of old low-rise dense neighborhoods with tall apartment buildings. Moving into vertical developments, low-income populations deal with new urban lifestyles. In the past, picturesque streets and little squares with full of activity allowed inhabitants to hang around with family and neighbors. In the present, the TOKI developments are characterized as possessing anonymous areas, that are the un-planned remains of the towers’ footprints. Have these urban and architectural circumstances exacerbated the lack of social cohesion in communities all around the country? Through a case study in a TOKI project in the city of Gaziantep - in southeastern Turkey, this research illustrates the current conditions of indoor and communal ground-level areas of this project. Interviews and observations make evident the need to energize these communities exploring climate-responsive design alternatives. Such solutions would alleviate the outdoor thermal stress in this hot and dry climate (particularly in summer). This paper aims to review the current conditions of social housing in Turkey, and the significance of communal outdoor spaces. Survey data makes evident that interaction between people can be enhanced by placing well-defined outdoor. Through a more pleasant range of temperatures and shading regions, communal outdoor areas help communities improve experiences inhabiting and sharing these spaces with others. They stimulate urban vitality, and shape well-defined neighborhoods with participatory and well-aware residents.