An Interdisciplinary Design Approach: Designing Dicle Valley with Locally Based Landscape Strategies

By Meltem Erdem and Birge Yildirim Okta.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: January 9, 2014 $US5.00

In last decade, the theories that have evolved within the interdisciplinary platform have offered a new way of understanding landscape as a source for the development of urban and rural environments. Among those theories, landscape urbanism appears to be one of the most promising fields of action, as it redefines the performance ground of landscape designs. In light of the landscape urbanism discourse, the aim of this paper is to discuss an interdisciplinary design approach by looking at a proposal developed for a project competition that focuses on the transformation of Dicle Valley into an open space system along Dicle River to be a future development site for the city of Diyarbakır, Turkey. Appreciated as one of the major ecological corridors of the region and serving as fertile agricultural land, Dicle River has been threatened by redevelopment projects since the late 1970s, losing its socio-cultural and ecological quality. In this context, the project focuses on the reevaluation of the site's existing character and proposes a design scheme to transform the 675-ha site into an open space system that connects two sides of the valley with diverse programs. To respond to the current environmental conditions and the competition brief, the proposed project is structured around four landscape strategies: integration, restructuring, multi-functionality, and flux. In light of the interdisciplinary design approach, design strategies are used to reconstruct the bounds between nature and culture. Ecology, socio-cultural transformation, and spatial characteristics that foster new functions appeared to be important ideas--accompanied by the design strategies, which are inspired by the existing site conditions to propose a new development scenario. With its urban position and rural character, Dicle Valley confronts different dimensions of a space, history, ecology, urban development, and socio-cultural transformation. As a by-product of a design competition, it suggests an approach drawn from the theory of landscape urbanism to stimulate landscape-based strategies.

Keywords: Landscape Design, Landscape Ecology, Urban Landscape, Design Strategies, Design Process, Dicle Valley, Diyarbakir

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and Extraurban Studies, Volume 4, Issue 1, March 2014, pp.47-66. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: January 9, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.460MB)).

Dr. Meltem Erdem

Lecturer, Landscape Architecture, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey

Meltem Erdem is a Lecturer in the School of Architecture in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Istanbul Technical University. She worked as a visiting scholar in the Landscape Ecology, Perception, and Design Lab at the University of Michigan, USA, between 2010 and 2011. She received her Ph.D. with the thesis titled “An Evaluation Matrix Proposal for Identification, Preservation and Development of Landscape Characteristics of Rural Settlements.” Her research interests focus on contemporary approaches and environmental systems in landscape design, and rural landscape planning and design.

Dr. Birge Yildirim Okta

Visiting Researcher, Urban Planning and Design, Harvard University, Boston, MA, USA

Birge Yildirim is a Research Assistant in the School of Architecture in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Istanbul Technical University. She studied at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in 2012¬2013. Her research interests focus on urban history, architectural design, and landscape design.