Creating a safer and more inclusive city that encourages residents to participate in everyday city life, including walking and cycling and maximising use of shared public spaces like streets and squares, is one of the defining features of the Healthy Streets concept.
By reducing barriers such as noise, air pollution, accessibility and lack of seating and shelter, the Healthy Streets approach seeks to improve an area’s streetscapes, regenerating commercial and social activities and enhancing community participation – even from vulnerable groups.
At the heart of Turkey’s bustling capital Ankara lies Çankaya, the city’s cultural and financial district, which is home to nearly one million people. Over the last 20 years, the city’s over-dependency on motorised transport has severely impacted the quality of public space, resulting in car-dominated streets with poor accessibility. In Çankaya, the country’s largest district municipality, streets have become hostile, noisy and inaccessible, negatively impacting the most vulnerable social groups such as children, people living with disabilities, women and the elderly.
As part of the FCDO’s Global Future Cities Prosperity Fund Programme, Arup is working with the Çankaya Municipality to create a more vibrant community by improving accessibility and enhancing civic spaces, all based on a participatory approach. Through an informed decision-making process, our urban designers and city planners are designing a sustainability-driven framework to boost quality of life and create a more resilient and inclusive community.
1 million residents
Ankara’s Healthy Streets is one of the initiatives that Arup is helping the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office to deliver in Turkey, with a range of projects to drive economic growth, equality and accessibility taking place across key cities including also Istanbul and Bursa.
Sustainability-driven urban design
Sustainability drives Çankaya’s ‘Healthy Streets’ Project, which seeks to involve the community to co-design neighbourhood-scale interventions to create a more accessible and inclusive urban environment for the one million local residents.
Originally guiding London’s 25 year Transport Strategy, our urban designers have developed a tailor-made framework to meet the specific needs of Çankaya, addressing four key aspects: creating a greener, more resilient district that is also more liveable and vibrant.
The context-responsive framework to improve the area’s streetscapes includes a replicable methodology that can be adapted to suit other municipalities and districts, both in Turkey and elsewhere.
Under the Green District header, the framework proposes a series of regenerative actions to create an active urban ecosystem in Çankaya, including reforestation initiatives; while Resilient section considers ways to mitigate negative environmental factors and improve the urban microclimate. On the Liveability front, the aim is to create safer and more accessible environments that enhance community engagement; while Vibrant District contemplates interventions to regenerate the local economy while improving mobility.
City authorities and residents both understand that designing attractive and vibrant public open spaces is key to boosting an area’s social value while supporting its economy ” Stefano Recalcati Associate Director
Community participation key to create vibrant streetscapes
Inclusivity lies at the heart of the framework, with community engagement a key part of the initial design stage to create a common vision. A wide range of stakeholders were consulted via participatory workshops and gatherings, opening up a democratic and inclusive perspective for the governance practices of local bodies. The participatory workshops and stakeholder engagement were guided by three pillars central to the programme’s approach – interaction with people, design for people and transferring knowledge to people.
A range of interactive workshops with local children, focus groups with under-represented communities and online design workshops with local authorities and organisations helped to plant the seeds of change among all the key actors in the district.
GIS data informs the urban regeneration vision
The Çankaya Healthy Streets strategic plan is reinforced through strong data analysis. The decision making process was extensively supported by GIS, helping to manage and visualise large datasets.
We used GIS to define and prioritise the intervention areas as well as deciding which locations are most suitable to roll out pilot projects. Supported by data maps, our team could guide discussion with all the different stakeholders, such as the municipality to define a common vision for a more vibrant community.