Urban transformation projects re-utilize degraded regions within the city by providing them new functionality, and in this way, increasing sustainability at the city scale. Hamamönü district is an example of such a transformation. The district is dominated by traditional civil architecture of the 19th century and has been standing in ruins in the center of Ankara, Turkey for years. In 2009, Altındağ Municipality selected Hamamönü district as a rehabilitation project due to its historical value and the necessity for urban regeneration in the central part of Ankara. This area reflects the positive results of rehabilitation projects, in the conservation of historical places, in old and unused/underused parts of the city.
In Hamamönü, taking the name from the Karacabey Bath situated in the area; the regeneration area included seven streets, one mosque, and 250 houses. This area is important, in terms of protecting the historic pattern of the city; because there are art streets, hand crafts bazaars, culture & art centers, and mansions. Also environmental planning was carried out; pedestrianizing the areas besides the restored facades of houses.
As part of the restoration project, the houses’ original stucco front walls were protected. Wooden architectural elements were protected, damaged tiles on the roofs were changed, and wooden girders was changed. Besides restoration, Altındağ Municipality also refreshed the streets. The streets are designed with special lightning systems and stone pavements. The benches on the streets give people the opportunity to rest.
Due to the location of Hacettepe University campus, in front of this area and unused despite its central location, the restored district has started to draw interest, first by students and inhabitants, then by residents of Ankara and tourists. There are many restaurants and cafés in the restored area; enabling the creation of a center that breathes new life into Ankara. Due to both the thoroughness of the restoration project and the re-functioning of unused public places, by people, this project was granted an award; “Hamamönü Urban Design and Consolidation Destination” The project was also elected as “European Destination of Excellence” in 2011.
This kind of restoration project really effects the city’s social life in a good way. Does your city have a restored and re-functioned urban area?
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