Changing Perspectives on the Planning of Ankara (1924-2007) and Lessons for a New Master-Planning Approach to Developing Cities


  • Olgu Çalişkan



As one of the newly planned capitals in the 20th century – like Islamabad, Canberra and Brazil –, Ankara represents an original case in planning history: from shaping a new town under the influence of early European urbanism to the control of a dynamic metropolitan form by structural planning approaches. Forming its urban core according to the initial planning perspectives between the beginning of 1930s and the mid-1970s, the city has entered a rapid phase of space production in its extensions for about the last thirty years.

In the current period of development, highly fragmented urban peripheral formation has being occurred in Ankara. Since the existing trend on the dispersion of urban form lacking spatial coherence at different scale-levels causes the dominance of the private domain and a loss of urbanity, this trend might at first glance be considered as a break with the European tradition and the emergence of Anglo-Americanization in Turkish planning system in terms of looser development control approach on urban form.

Before, coming to such a critical end-point, the paper prefers a closer look into the changing dynamics of master plans of the city. It is aimed to reveal the developmental logic of the city by means of master plan analysis. The comprehensive outlook – called plan matrix – is integrated into each master plan schema by correlating the basic components like main policy directions, depth of control, settlement typology, and city structure and form. Such a framework has a potential to be utilized for any kind of plan analysis at metropolitan scale for different cases. At the end of the analysis, the paper tends to address an alternative master planning approach for the similar types of developing cities striving for keeping its urban character within a fragmented urban body.

Author Biography

Olgu Çalişkan

Conducting his PhD research at TU Delft Faculty of Architecture, Department of Urbanism, in the Netherlands, Olgu Çalişkan is a research assistant at Middle East Technical University (METU) in Turkey. Having got his MSc degree on Urban Design at METU in 2004, the author is currently studying on the issue of ‘pattern formation in urban design’. His recent publications include a book on ‘urban compactness’ (by VDM, 2009) and several articles including Journal of Urban Design (forthcoming, 2009) and METU JAPA (2006/2). His main research interests are physical planning and design, urban morphology, urban design theory and method, and visualization in urbanism.