SUSTAINABILITY AND CULTURAL HERITAGE: CONCEPT, CONTEXT AND CASES FROM TURKEY - a lecture by Özgün Özçakır.
The concepts of “sustainability” and “sustainable development” have been officially introduced to the conservation field with the doctrinal documents published by ICOMOS and UN, such as The Valletta Principles (2011) and UN SDGs (2015). Yet, the critical analysis of these international documents is necessary since their practical reflection is generally disregarded. To fill that gap, international cases are useful tools for assessing the impact of various interventions on sustainability.
To understand the correlation between cultural heritage and sustainability, this lecture focuses on Turkey, a country where different interventions challenge the sustainability of heritage places. Though regulations for new interventions in heritage places were considerably strict in Turkey, policy context has been restructured in a top-down manner according to the neo-liberal urban agenda of the central government. The (ab)use of these laws by decision-makers at the local level through the collaborations between private agents already have an irreversible impact on the sustainability of urban heritage places.
Within this framework, this lecture aims at answering two questions: “What are the motivations of decision-makers for intervening urban heritage places in Turkey?” and “What is the impact of interventions on sustainability?”
Özgün Özçakır is an architect by training and specialized in the preservation field. He received his Ph.D. degree from Graduate Program in Conservation of Cultural Heritage, METU with his thesis entitled “In-Between Preservation and Economics: Establishing Common Ground Between Socio-Cultural and Economic for the Sustainability of Urban Heritage Places in Turkey.” The dissertation was awarded as the “Best Thesis of the Year” by METU due to its contribution to sustainable development.
Dr. Özçakır is currently a post-doc researcher at Erasmus University Rotterdam, School of History, Culture and Communication, Department of Arts and Culture Studies. He has attended multi-disciplinary international meetings as a speaker, which are organized by Association of Critical Heritage Studies, Association of Cultural Economics International, BTU Cottbus, and TU Delft. He is a member of ICOMOS Turkey, and his research interests include economics of cultural heritage, heritage and sustainability, heritage impact assessment (HIA).