November 05 2012

Creating Sustainable Communities: Kerkenes Eco-Center in Ankara, Turkey

Kerkenes Eco-Center in Ankara, Turkey

Sustainability is important in order to create livable cities and healthy communities. Sustainability is a concept which relates to every discipline and considers the next generation, including nature. Humans should be required to deal with the environment in such an integrated approach. In recent years, gas emissions, the greenhouse effect, and natural resource shortages have resulted from rapid urbanization. This increases the necessity for sustainable approaches.

Some studies have been performed regarding various sustainable applications in order to increase sustainability awareness in Ankara, Turkey. One of these applications is the Keskenes Eco Center Project, established in 2002 with aide from the Australian Embassy Direct Aid Program’s support, within Middle East Technical University (METU). By 2003, the concept of establishing an Eco-Center devoted to the research and promotion of renewable energy and sustainable village life developed.

The purpose of the Kerkenes Eco-Center is to promote sustainability through environmental studies. It pursues the following objectives:

  • Advocating the use of renewable energy;

  • Acting as an advocate for environment-friendly buildings, completed with appropriate materials and energy efficient designs;

  • Acting as a dynamic experimental base for testing designs, materials, and activities suitable for a viable and sustainable village life;

  • Encouraging village development and income generating activities that might halt or even reverse migration from rural areas to the cities.

Within the Kerkenes Eco-Center project, various programs are being executed in order to inform high school and university students about sustainability. Technical tours to the region are arranged for students and workshops are implemented in various subjects. Such tours and workshops are important to the youth because they are the next generation; those whom will make the decisions of whether to live in better, cleaner, and healthier modern cities. These efforts provide an increased awareness of the subject of sustainability and sustainable communities like the Güneşköy Ecovillage Project, in Ankara.

I think the most important task is sustainability education at the university level. Universities can establish research laboratories and project centers, keeping the youth informed and involved in sustainability courses and projects.

What are the most effective ways we can teach about sustainability? Do you feel that sustainability should be a part of compulsory education?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Selin Mutdoğan

Selin Mutdoğan holds a PhD degree in interior architecture and environmental design from Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey. Her dissertation was focused on sustainable residential interiors and research containing not only cases from Turkey, but also well-known green bulding certification systems used worldwide. She currently works at the same university as a full-time instructor. She is strongly concerned about sustainability, within all dimensions.

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This entry was posted on Monday, November 5th, 2012 at 8:54 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Land Use. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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