Urban Resilience and Ecosystem Services: How Can Be Integrated in the Case of Istanbul - Sultanbeyli District?

  • Azime Tezer Istanbul Technical University
  • Zeynep Deniz Yaman Istanbul Technical University
  • Ayse Ozyetgin Altun Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Urban and Regional Planning Department
  • Ilke Albayrak Istanbul Technical University Landscape Architecture Department
Keywords: ecosystem services, urban resilience, informal housing, Istanbul, Sultanbeyli


As estimated by UN, in 2030, 95 % of population growth will result from urban areas while a few metropolitan areas of rapidly growing developing countries will absorb much of this growth. Due to the accelerated urban growth and uncontrolled urban dispersion through naturally significant areas, sustainable urban growth management becomes a critical urban development policy for the global agenda.


Istanbul has been attracting much of the internal migration with a dramatic urban growth process since 1950s and Istanbul Province, with over 12 million people, in 2010 is the most populated city of Turkey. Sultanbeyli, as a unique case for informal housing development in Istanbul, expanded like mushrooming after 1980’s and located itself on the largest drinking water source of Istanbul: the Omerli Watershed. The population of Sultanbeyli District grew from 82,298 (1990 census) to 272,758 people (2007 census) (TUIK, 1990;2007): more than threefold increase in less than two decades with consequent environmental degradation, uncontrolled ground water pumping, lack of drinking and waste water infrastructures. These endanger the well-being of the environment and of the society. On the other hand, the serious poverty problem is the main concern in Sultanbeyli for urban resilience (UR) which can be defined as the degree to which cities are able to tolerate alteration before reorganizing around a new set of structures and processes and which can be measured by how well a city can simultaneously balance ecosystem services (ES) and human functions (Resilience alliance, 2007).


This paper aims to discuss how to integrate ecosystem services and resilience theory which will be essential to resolve the problems reflected by social, economic and administrative characteristics of Sultanbeyli District to enhance its urban resilience capacity in Istanbul.


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Author Biographies

Azime Tezer, Istanbul Technical University

Azime Tezer works as an Associate Professor at the Istanbul Technical University (ITU), Urban and Regional Planning Department. Her researches focus on ecological urban planning policies, land use and transportation interaction and natural hazard mitigation strategies for urban planning process. She spent seven months at the University of New South Wales, School of Civil Engineering, Department of Transportation for her PhD studies in 1993, and two years at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Ecological Cities Projects as a visiting scholar of UNESCO’s Keizo Obuchi research fellowship between 2003-2005. Her focal points are the following topics: potentials of biosphere reserves for biodiversity management models in urban areas, tools and techniques for urban natural hazard mitigation efforts, integration of ecosystem services with spatial planning, and eco-sensitive watershed management modeling.

Zeynep Deniz Yaman, Istanbul Technical University
Zeynep Deniz Yaman, urban and region planner, was born in 1984 in Luleburgaz. In 2002, she came to Istanbul to study university. From 2002 to 2006 she studied “Urban and Regional Planning” in Istanbul Technical University and graduated as university degree. During university period, she took place in several academic projects. Then, she was awarded a scholarship by Politecnico di Milano University where she obtained “Urban Planning and Policy Design” MSc degree in 2008. Now she’s attending Istanbul Technical University “Urban and Regional Planning” Ph.D. program. She’s currently interested in, ecosystem services, urban resilience and urban sustainability.
Ayse Ozyetgin Altun, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Urban and Regional Planning Department

Ayse Ozyetgin Altun, urban planner, was born in 1985 in Istanbul, Turkey. She has taken her bachelor degree in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in 2007. After, she has taken her MSc degree at the Urban Design Program of Istanbul Technical University in 2011. She has been in the working of the “Integration of Ecosystem Services into Spatial Planning” Project, which is supported by TUBITAK under the Urban-Net Call between 2009 and 2011. She wrote her MSc graduation thesis named with “The Role of Social-Ecological Networks and Structuring for Improving Urban Resilience” case of Sultanbeyli District. Presently she has enrolled as a PhD degree at the Urban Planning Program of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University.

Ilke Albayrak, Istanbul Technical University Landscape Architecture Department

Ilke Albayrak, landscape architect, was born in 1979 in Istanbul. She graduated from Forestry Faculty of Istanbul University in 2001. She studied on “Ecological Landscape Planning” in Istanbul University and obtained MSc degree in 2005. During education period, she took place in several academic projects and she won an honorary mention in the National Competition for Urla- Cesme-Karaburun Peninsula with her colleagues from Istanbul Technical University in 2008. Now she’s attending Istanbul Technical University “Landscape Architecture” PhD Program. Her research topics are ecosystem services, watershed management and multi functional landscapes.


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How to Cite
TezerA., YamanZ., AltunA., & AlbayrakI. (2012). Urban Resilience and Ecosystem Services: How Can Be Integrated in the Case of Istanbul - Sultanbeyli District?. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 5(2), 159-176. https://doi.org/10.6092/1970-9870/912