VOL: 5  NO: 1, 54-73, 2008-1


Complexity versus sustainability in urban space:
The case of Taksim Square, Istanbul



Istanbul Technical University Faculty of Architecture Istanbul TURKEY



Received: September 2007                 Final Acceptance: January 2008




This paper examines the relationship between complexities of urban space against the eco-aesthetic concept of visual sustainability of the environment. It highlights the conceptual challenges in defining urban and architectural sustainability; indicates relations between sustainability and legibility of space and researches negative effects of complexity on a sustainable urban development. The paper identifies two main complexity elements of a city, which are streets and squares and indicates three major subjects to be investigated as ‘general legibility easiness level’, ‘motor complexity elements’ and ‘general legibility difficulty level’ on streets or squares. The survey is carried out in one of the most important city centers of Istanbul: Taksim Square and Istiklal Street. Main findings of our paper are that people learn squares more easily than they do the streets, mobile elements such as vehicles and pedestrians create more complexity than architectural diversity and signs. Complex environments are defined to be less legible as the familiarity decreases.



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