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Building and construction industry in Istanbul comprises of improved standards to help prevent uncertainties such as earthquakes. Since planners understand that the beauty of an urban center relies on the dimensions of the proper coordination of the forms and space put in place over the time, they create specific designs in order to achieve recommended standards. Urban design is a work aimed at safeguarding the buildings from natural calamities such as earthquakes, satisfying customers’ housing needs and setting the measures of transforming the world by means of architectural work. Urban design and transformation heavily rely on historical background and knowledge of the performers. In addition, the design transformation could be seen through the typological approach to the analysis of urban designs evolution and the perspective of growth of architecture discipline. These have given a number of phases of urban transformation as would be evidenced in this study. Therefore, the essay focuses on building/construction in Istanbul located in Turkey in terms of the types of building, whether they have a solid stand or prepared for earthquakes.  

Types of Buildings in the City

In Istanbul City, the major type of building reflects Ottoman and Byzantine architecture. Although new designs are constantly emerging, the predominant ones are the arches and domes which are some of the classical models used by the Romans in construction (Davreu, 2008). Some of the building types include commercial, industrial, residential, military, religious, government, parking, and storage buildings. In early 1970s, the town planners in Istanbul came up with the idea to end the construction of uniform tower blocks (Siegfried, 2001). In the post modernist time, constructions were left on an individual basis which led to creating variations in the types of buildings (Bentley, 1999). It was also influenced by society and economic disparities. On the other hand, Istanbul City has restricted legal procedures governing the setting up of social amenities such as the car parks. They apply the use of title deeds as a regulatory measure to affect proper land use. 

Late urban designs in the country are peculiar with story buildings and unique street system. General characteristics of the types of building include discernable centers mostly at the street corners with bus terminals (Davreu, 2008). Residential areas are strategized about a quarter mile from the city center. Therefore, Istanbul city is an amalgamation of different types of buildings whether round, stories or flats. The buildings are constructed in a way that satisfies all the population strata economically as well as in accordance with gender and age consideration (Siegfried, 2001). Toward the residential areas are the shops, supermarkets and merchandises which supply the people’s needs at the residential areas. The residential buildings are designed in different types along the streets leading to a formation of highways into the outskirts.

Good Stand Building

Currently, the city has solid stand buildings for earthquake because it is classified along the seismic line, meaning that it could be affected by the earthquake. Building engineers are consistently taking care of reliable designs and location before constructing a house. The buildings close to the seismic lines are constructed in taller storey that those in safe areas (Kalkan, Gülkan, Öztürk & Çelebi, 2008). This follows a scientific revelation that a building swings as the ground shakes during an earthquake. The action is due to variations in energy originating from quake waves transmitted from underneath. It might make people believe that the tallest buildings are at greater risk during an earthquake.

However, seismologists argue that the shorter buildings are at greater risk of being affected than the tall ones. The first reason is that flexibility of any building increases with its height, which means that the taller houses are more flexible than the shorter ones. Its flexibility reduces the amount of energy that the building will require to make it firm and prevent it from collapsing. In fact, as the earth shakes during a quake, the tall building will merely sway and remain firm as the shock waves reduce (Kalkan et al., 2008). Since short buildings are not flexible, they are not able to swing during an earthquake. As a result, such buildings are likely to collapse during earthquakes. The presence of tall buildings in Istanbul is a justification of a solid stand building in the city. 

There have been numerous projects initiated by the urban developers in the process of transforming Istanbul into a modern urban setting such as the solid stand buildings. Some of these development schemes have led to the improvement of the city in terms of accessibility, whereas others have resulted in constructing storied buildings along the seismic lines, thus risking the lives of the occupants (Kalkan et al., 2008). Since the destruction of property during earthquakes leads to the degradation of land, it might also affect people’s lifestyle. For example, the increase in the number of multiple storey buildings on the seismic lines in the city normally leads to the formation of dangerous dwellings in the urban center. Other than the settlements, the wastes from destroyed buildings and urban vegetation have also resulted in the destruction of the ecosystem. Literally, the destruction of the ecosystem due to the earthquake degrades the environment which, in turns, makes it expensive to transform the urban centers.

Notably, the government alone is unable to deal with the amount of destruction and wastes that an earthquake might cause in Istanbul (Siegfried, 2001). Such wastes may block the roads, drainage system, consequently blocking the systems from operating. In the end, the blockages lead to spillovers, thereby draining the wastes to the rivers. Therefore, accumulation of wastes entering the rivers and destroying the ecosystem inhibits the transformation of other sections of the urban centers. The reason for this is that the most of the resources are diverted to cleaning the wastes. This means that the slum dwellers, in most cases, suffer exclusion from their colleagues’ social life.

In order to avoid such occurrence, the solid stand buildings, which are able to withstand the impact of seismic waves, are highly encouraged in the city. As a result of the rising populations in the cities, the resources that are available may not be distributed among the urban dwellers equally. Therefore, the government of Istanbul is courteous to ensure that its people are protected from the catastrophic destruction caused by earthquakes (Hall, 1998). A lot of attention must be dedicated towards the Northern part of the city, especially Anatolian Fault Zone and Aksaray, since they are situated within the dangerous earthquake zones in the town (Kalkan et al., 2008).    

Preparation of Building for Earthquakes

In terms of preparation of buildings for earthquakes, it is essential to avoid the identified seismic lines to increase the safety of both tall and short buildings. In some parts of the city, the planners intentionally prepare the building for earthquakes. The rationale is that safety depends on weather conditions and other natural calamities, such as earthquakes and Tsunamis, which are also unpredictable issues in the sustainable development plans, thus have to be taken into consideration when constructing. A lot of preparation of buildings for earthquakes is practiced in Istanbul, especially when planning the ways of ensuring seismic safety and adherence of every building (Kalkan et al., 2008). In this regard, structural engineers in the city have come up with practical design that guarantees support elements, especially of shorter or less flexible buildings. This is an attempt to make sure that the buildings withstand greater shock waves and forces than those of skyscrapers. Majority of the contractors involved in property construction within the city are advised to build storey buildings to make them safer, since the town is located along the seismic lines.

The other measure that the contractors are adhering to is the choice of the construction materials. In essence, the construction materials must be of high quality and allow more flexibility so that the building does not become affected during earthquake. The contractors make sure that the skyscrapers are reinforced properly, so that they withstand the shock waves during an earthquake.

Since Istanbul is located within the quake lines, engineers are expected to design structures that have the ability to absorb greater amount of energy of the shock waves which are transmitted throughout the stature and height of the skyscraper (Kalkan et al., 2008). In addition, walls and floors of houses in the seismic lines are also constructed in a special way to convey the shaking force downward the building and finally to the ground, in which the shock wave disappears (Kalkan et al., 2008). The other preparation when building storey houses is that the joints between all supportive partitions of a given building are also being reinforced. This measure is to taken in order to guarantee that the building becomes able to tolerate any bent that might be caused by earthquake shock waves. The contractors in Istanbul also take keen interest in the truss to ensure that it complies with the seismic safety (Kalkan et al., 2008).   

The other preparation of buildings for earthquakes was the considerable extent to which Istanbul has been transformed since World War II. The authorities and contractors in the city insisted on adjusting the construction in terms of the emergence of the new building designs, the construction of storey houses and the change in the structural arrangements within the emerging cities. From the look out of Istanbul, there was a possibility of the new designs taking over from the old system or designs (Kalkan et al., 2008). Furthermore, with the increase in the necessity for upgrading the urban center, even more needs to be done. For example, there was a need to increase the use of technological methods of drawing the designs to ensure that the buildings were stable and could resist seismic waves.


In summary, it can be noted that since 1945, there has been a lot of transformation of the urban center. Particularly, the housing system has seen some tremendous increase and development. The old systems of building have been replaced with advanced styles. The housing sector in the urban center has also been transformed tremendously over the period. Indeed, this evidenced by the replacement of the old building styles with modern ones, with close attention to earthquake lines. The construction projects have also undergone various changes over the period, since they consider vulnerability to earthquake.  This is because the city is classified among those constructed in earthquake prone areas, thus calling for attention while erecting buildings.  The other important thing to note  is that when planning, contractors become courteous about the earthquake in order to ensure seismic safety and adherence of every building. In this regard, structural engineers in the city came up with practical designs which could guarantee support elements, especially of shorter ones, since they are less flexible buildings. This was an attempt to make sure that the buildings withstood greater shock waves and forces than those of skyscrapers so that they do not get substantially affected during disasters. Specific attention was dedicated to  Anatolian Fault Zone in the Northern part of the city and Aksaray, because they are categorized as the most dangerous areas within the earthquake lines. 

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