Erdem Kaya, M., Kaya, H.S., Terzi, F., Alkay, E. (2014-) A  Methodology Proposal to Landscape Identify Identity Indice of Rural Settlement- Aegean Region Case (Tübitak 114O369)  Budget: 344.494.51 TL


Rural settlements differ from urban environment by the factors such as population size and density, economic activities and quality of natural environment. Compare with the urban areas in terms of size and diversity of economic activities and the heterogeneity of social structure, rural settlements are relatively more homogenous, small and represents variety in terms of compliance with nature and diversity of natural environment. Global market requirements, technological innovations, development in communication and information technologies, urbanization process and changes in lifestyles of contemporary society appear as the main drivers of change of urban and rural environment. Urban areas respond to those changes by the reorganization of the spatial setting with new functions whereas the effects of those changes in rural areas would be more dramatic that lead the loss of local characteristics. Overall effects of all of those changes can be observed from the landscape quality of settlements. This process is called landscape change to represent the changes observed in traditional landscapes by the integration of new functions. Within this process the balance between urban-rural has changed in a way in which urban character become more prominent that lead the emergence of hybrid typologies polarized between rural and urban areas.

Controlling the pace of this change and protection of the landscape identity of rural areas has recently been recognized as an important constituting part of developing international policies. This situation has been emphasized with respect to new amendments in World Heritage Convention (which is approved in 1972 and changed to include cultural landscapes) and European Landscape Convention (2000) with an emphasis on landscapes as an international policy instrument.

As a general trend rural settlements are approached like an urban areas with the same parameters and the same aspects. The qualities and quantities, that make the settlement distinctive, should be taken into consideration to protect the unique structure of the settlement and to control the mode of development to make it compatible with the identity o the settlement. Identity based concepts are tend to be descriptive and based on qualitative researches. It is believed that a new approach is needed to identify the landscape identity components and to assess the level of contribution of the component to create an identifiable landscape by using quantitative methods.

The aim of this research is to propose a quantitative method to identify the components of landscape identity of rural settlements and examine the spatial distribution of those identity components within a defined geography. Aegean region is selected as the case study of the research with its rich rural pattern defined by the combination of diverse geomorphology, unique rural architectural character, climatic conditions, rural economy and socio-cultural structures. With this respect, different from the urban identity studies, it is proposed that the features that is represented as “rural settlement identity” should be evaluated in detail and in a holistic manner in the light of “rural landscape identity” concept. Therefore the main goals of the research is defined as follows:

1. to identify landscape identity components and identity indices

2. to classify rural settlement typologies of Aegean Region according to physical identity components and to examine the spatial distribution of those components within the region

3. to evaluate the physical identity components (natural and built) by using maps, satellite views and field investigations and social components by proceeding questionaries’

4. to create landscape identity cards for the selected settlements and develop strategies to protect and enhance landscape identity.

In the context of the research it is proposed that the landscape identity of a rural settlement can be evaluated in terms of two major component; physical identity components (natural and built) and social identity components. As a result of the morphological analysis which will be proceeded for the selected cases “landscape identity classes” will be provided which is defined by the physical identity components and identity indices. Cases which represent the different identity class, are going to be analyzed with the landscape identity component matrix. Afterwards landscape identity cards will be prepared for each cases and landscape strategies will be developed for each settlement to protect and enhance the landscape identity. The contribution of the methodology to the identity based researches and studies and contribution of the outcomes of the research to country is summarized as follows:

1. The proposed methodology and the parameters that are used for the research will contribute to the identification of rural landscape identity from theoretical perspective and a new aspect, with a well grounded scientific background, will be provided

2. A detailed assessment and evaluation concerning rural landscape identity Aegean Region will be provided. With this evaluation the role of rural settlement within settlement hierarchy will be defined in detail and therefore the possible conflicts between development plans and rural identity will be prevented, and a tool for developing the right decision to protect the sustainability of identity will be provided. And also a detailed regional development typologies based on landscape identity will be provided.

3. The research with its case Aegean Region can be used as a model that can be apply to the different regions of Turkey. The proposed methodology can be used as a tool to develop landscape design guidelines to control the change of rural patterns as a result of contemporary demands of society. Also the research will provide a tool to protect rural settlements with its all dimension not only by focusing on the architectural features.

 Erdem Kaya, M., Kaya, H.S., Terzi, F., Assessment of Physical Landscape Identity Components of Rural Settlements of Bodrum Peninsula (İTÜ BAP NO 37520) Budget: 15000 TL


Turkey has a great variety reflected in its cultural landscapes emerged through the combination of diverse climatic, geographic, socio-cultural and ethnic structure. The most prominent indicator of this variety is the rural settlements with its unique structure based on local values. Those diversity and differences make the country very suitable for identity based concepts and approaches. However, the number of studies and researches focusing on the identification of those unique characteristic and spatial analysis are limited. As a general trend rural settlements are approached like an urban areas with the same parameters and the same aspects. The qualities and quantities, that make the settlement distinctive, should be taken into consideration to protect the unique structure of the settlement and to control the mode of development to make it compatible with the identity o the settlement.

The aim of this study is to asses the identity features of rural settlements of Bodrum Peninsula and provide strategies in order to protect and enhance the identity. The research is based on the idea that the landscape identity of a rural settlement can be undersatnd through investigation of two main components; physical and social and focused on physical landscape identity components of rural settlements of Bodrum Peninsula. With this respect the goals of the study can be summarized as follows: identify landscape identity features and parameters classify rural settlement typologies of Bodrum Peninsular according to physical identity features analyze physical landscape identity features of 6 settlements from Bodrum Peninsula

4.provide strategies for each rural settlement to protect and enhance the landscape identity

 With its findings this research will contribute to the identity literature and Turkey from some aspects:

1.The method and the parameters that are used in the method will contribute to theory to investiation of identity

of rural settlements

2.With this research a detailed investigation and assessment will be done for the rural settlemetns of Bodrum

Peninsula In the light of these assessments strategies will be provided to protect and enhance the identity of

rural settlements in Bodrum Peninsula which are threatened by the tourism based development strategies.

3.A model will be provided that can be applied to the other regions of Turkey

Esbah, H., Berberoğlu, S. ve M. Karaca (2012- Present) Ecological risk analysis in Big Meander Basin (Tübitak 111Y324) Budget: 25000TL.


Holistic evaluation of environmental risks such as erosion, drought, fire, and primary production can facilitate efficient planning practices for mitigating the detrimental effects of climate change.  Spatial analysis of the quality and the quantity of these phenomenon can elaborate ecological risks on ecosystems.  This will also generate a critical input for environmentally sound planning and management of landscapes.  Big Meander Basin is one of Turkey’s prominent basins in Turkey, and is subject to heavy pressures caused by socio-economic activities in the basin. Ecological risks in the basin are heavily shaped by erosion, drought, forest fires and primary production processes.  These processes manifest themselves in the form of loosing good quality soils, declining agricultural production, decreasing forest cover, and decline in biodiversity.

The purpose of this research is to model the ecological risks in the Big Meander Basin. More specific objectives of the study involve spatial modeling of i) rimary production (NBÜ); ii) Erosion; iii) Forest fires and iv) drought risks. By means of overlapping this information with the current land cover/ use information in the GIS environment, we will generate a comprehensive ecological risk map of the Big Meander Basin.  In this context (i) those aforementioned processes, which have negative consequences on the basin landscapes, will be forecasted based on specific and reliable spatial techniques and method, (ii) risk analyses will be conducted for each processes (iv) the outcomes will be merged to generate a single ecological risk map.

Spatial models proposed in this research include i) CASA for Primary Production: Developed by NASA and Stanford University, the Carnegie, Ames, Stanford (NASA-CASA) is a terrestrial biochemical approach which uses satellite images and meteorological data to simulate carbon cycle for annual regional primary production estimation.  The model uses temperature, rainfall, light effect and satellite information; ii) Fire risk: The model is based on multi criteria assessment of spatial factors such as topography and weather information. iii) Erosion: Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) is a universally recognized model for predicting soil loss. iv) Drought index: This commonly used index is the ratio of daily average rainfall to daily average potential evapotranspiration.

The primary materials of the study include EnvisatMERİS and LANDSAT ETM data.  EnvisatMERIS will be used in the NASA-CASA model to predict net primary production. LANDSAT ETM is a base information source to map land cover/use classification, and also to obtain information about the vegetation health through Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI).  Ancillary data of this research include topographical maps to extract elevation, aspect and slope information, digital elevation model, and also forest maps to use as training data for the classification of land cover.  Moreover, soil, geology maps and information pertaining to climate, agricultural statistics, and population etc. will be used.

The proposed study has merit in terms of its ecological risk approach.  Currently, no literature exists comprehensively evaluating ecological risks, which are defined by erosion, drought, forest fire and state of primary production, for Big Meander Basin.  Also, the literature is lacking examples of digital-spatial risk maps and exclusive representation of the four environmental processes as an input to single ecological risk map.  The methodology and approaches developed for the Big Meander Basin can set an example for climate change studies on areas with similar concerns in Turkey and all around the world.  The application of the research approach to different cases can make it a standard method in the long run. Furthermore, the findings of this research can be used for mitigating negative impacts of climate change by the Ministry of Environment and Urban, Climate Change Department when developing policies, strategies and plans against global warming.

Esbah, H., Yıldızcı, A. C., Türkoğlu, H., Terzi, F., Güler, G. (2010- present) Monitoring and  modeling of urban development in Igneada Protected Area. (COST-110Y015), Budget: 198000TL.


As environmental problems rise to global level, ecologically important areas are declared as “protected” with different conservation status; however, change in these areas is inevitable during time. The changes are attributable to the impact of nearby urbanization on the functioning of these sensitive ecosystems. Elaboration of historical urban development plays an important role in understanding the types of pressures these sensitive ecosystems are being subjected to. Detection of change plays an important role, also, in modeling upcoming land cover/use patterns that will prevail in protected areas as a result of different development scenarios.   Detection of land use change and modeling for future enable sustainable resource management. Thus, the use of remote sensing and GIS technology has been increasing in this regard last 25 years.  The protection efforts in our nation exclusively put an emphasis on the preparation of management plans and master plans for our national parks lately.  During the planning process, the latest technology and state of the art is used as well as involvement of stake holders.  İğneada National park, one of the latest national parks of Turkey, is one example of this.

Igneada’s mangrove forests are one of the important protected areas of Turkey. Because the area houses sensitive ecosystems, the parts of it were previously protected as Nature Protection Park, Natural Site, and Wildlife Protection Area.  In order to promote a wider scale (3155ha) comprehensive protection, the area has been announced as a national park by the Board of Ministers in 11/03/2007. Despite its ecological sensitivity and importance, the İğneada area has been under serious threats such as ISKI project and supplying drinking water to Istanbul, an harbour project, and a coastal road project.  The announcement of the national park is expected to contribute to the sustainable development of the area.  In addition, great variety of urban pressures is evident in the area such as expansion of summer houses on and around wetlands, increasing recreational uses on coastal line (mainly off-road racing), and wetland pollution due to sewage.  These ongoing pressures and their consequences should be taken into account for sustainable management of İğneada protection area.  Thus, this proposal intends to contribute to the sustainable resource use in İğneada through landscape ecology and latest technology approach.

In this study, the purpose is to detect the change in İğneada urban area and its surroundings with remote sensing techniques, and to generate urban growth models for future.  The primary research materials include aerial photographs and satellite images from 1972, 1984, 1990, 2003 ve 2009.  The methodology involves 6 basic steps: 1- Image preprocessing, 2- Supervised and unsupervised classification, 3- Accuracy assessment, 4- Change analysis, 5- Model development, and 6- Generation of planning suggestions for future. The results of this study will facilitate more efficient protection of İğneada National Park’s resource values, and demonstrate possible effects of proposed socio-economic activities in the area. Moreover, methodology developed in this study can be an effective management tool, and set an example to the management activities in other protected areas of Turkey.

 Esbah, H., Durmuşoğlu, Z.O., Maktav, D. Guler, G. (2010-present). Analysis of urban green infrastructure through landscape structure indices.  (İTÜ-BAP 33376), Budget: 13000TL.


Urban green and natural areas are indispensible part of the urban infrastructure.  These areas contribute to improving urban ecology many ways.  These areas are affected by urban development thus the development shapes the structure and dynamics in these areas.  The common implication of this interaction is the loss of urban green and natural areas that is well elaborated in the literature.

Urbanization not only affects the composition (area, number etc.) but also changes the configuration (shape, distance, neighborhood etc) of these areas.  These changes are structural changes in a landscape.  According to the landscape ecology paradigm landscape structure always interacts with landscape function; and change is the outcome of this reciprocal relationship.   Subsequently, the holistic understanding of landscape function is attainable through analyzing landscape structure.

The investigation of the structure of the urban natural areas can highlight how urban development has been shaping the habitat values in these ecologically valuable areas.  This will contribute to the sustainable planning and management of these socio-economically, ecologically and aesthetically important areas.  This research aims to understand the composition and configuration of the urban green and natural areas.  The work focuses on natural patches in the Istanbul Metropolitan area.  Patch and class level metrics are used to elaborate the structure of the landscape and its change over a 30 year period.

Esbah, H., Deniz, B., Kara, B. Hepcan, Ş. (2010-present) Ecological Networks in agro-environments (Tübitak 109Y220), 189000TL.


The importance of ecological networks in sustainable resource planning and management is increasing.  Agricultural landscapes could be an indispensable element of ecological networks due to their ecological, economic and social values. Agricultural landscapes are important biodiversity areas, and ecological networks can significantly contribute to the biodiversity in these areas. The promotion of ecological networks and corridors are perceived as efficient nature protection policy instruments in Europe and all around the world.  Great numbers of initiatives has been taken in this regard (The Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy, Pan–European Ecological Network –PEEN, the EU Habitats Directive, the Birds Directive, the EU Biodiversity Action Plan for Agriculture). On the contrary, the number of initiations and scientific research is limited in Turkey.  Also, no research exists on ecological networks in agricultural areas.  Our institutional environment lacks legislations related to the protection of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. These areas, without any conservation status, are not considered potential areas for biodiversity and nature protection.  Agricultural landscapes are not manifested in the legislation of related agencies as tools for the protection of biodiversity.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the structure of agricultural landscapes from an ecological network planning point of view and to demonstrate their role in establishing ecological networks. Specifically, the goal of this case study of Big Meander (Soke) Plain is to detect the landscape elements for ecological networks and the structural connectivity in the current network.  First, different types of linear landscape elements will be classified by object based classification of high resolution satellite images.  Second, the structure and connectedness of these components will be displayed in a GIS environment.  And then, the areas of improvements for the establishment of ecological networks will be pointed out. Also, the vegetation characteristics of each corridor type will be presented. And finally, the planning and land management suggestions for improving ecological networks in agricultural landscapes will be developed.

Study area is one of the prominent agricultural areas of Turkey.  Soke Plain is located between two important legally protected areas, Dilek Peninsula-Big Meander Delta (DYBMD) National Park and Bafa Lake Nature Park.   Accordingly, the investigation of the ecological network potential of this agricultural landscape can contribute to the sustainable protection of the neighboring ecologically important areas.  Data and the suggestions that will be generated from this study, can guide the efforts of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the Ministry of Agriculture, and also contribute to the development of national policies and strategies.  Moreover, the results of this study can be used for increasing awareness among the farmers.

Maktav, D., Sunar, F. Esbah, H., Baycan, T. (2009-2012) GAUS: Gaining additional urban space. (INTEN-C BMBF project- 108Y247), (German Team: Sigmund, A. and Jurgens, C.) Budget: 350000TL.


This Project aims to develop an automated system with which urban and landscape planners can make more efficient  decision when assigning land use to open spaces.  The significance of the study comes in the form of creating a transferale rule set to use in any urban context in the world.  In order to develop this tool, this research used Istanbul and Berlin as a training sites, and then the tool was applied to Bochum case for testing its utility.  The research team first classified the high resolution ikonos images of training sites and applied the decision tree to Bochum.  The result was a very high accuracy classification in both the training and testing sites.  Meanwhile, a group of experts have developed the criteria and their rating for multi criteria analysis of land use decision making.  The final stage included the creation of the automated systems of land use determination for each potential open space through a MATLAB procedure.  The model pursued smart growth approach and hence onserving compact development which respects sensitive ecosystems such as wetlands and forests in the study sites.  Even though the tool was generated in the Turkish and German context it has a potential to be utilized in any urban situation all around the world.

Esbah, H., Kelkit, A., Deniz, B., Kara, B., Bolca, M. (2006-.2009) Invesitgating the landscape changes in and around a protected area through landscape structure indices, and developing sustainable land use recommendations: case of Big Meander Delta and Dilek Peninsula National Park.  (Tübitak  106Y015), Budget: 165000TL.

The purpose of this study is to detect the characteristics of the landscape change in the protected area environments by using Geographic Information Systems and landscape structure indices.  Dilek Peninsula Big Meander Delta National Park and Bafa Lake Nature Park of Aydin Province in Aegean Region are the focus of this case study.  SPOT 2X and ASTER images are utilized in object oriented classification to detect changes respectively between 1994 and 2005.  3 landscape structure indices are applied to the classified maps: connectivity index, matrix utility index and core set of metrics.  The results display a decrease of the coniferous forests, high maqui, low maqui, grasslands and salt flats, and an increase of the moderately high maqui, garrigue, salt marshes, arable lands and permanent crop fields, and artificial surfaces.  Major drivers of the landscape change include urbanization, agriculture, grazing, fire, and clearing of original vejetation for heating and timber.  Subsequently, high maqui and grasslands are most negatively affected; the coniferous forest and low maqui covers are in the shrinkage stage. Whereas, moderately high maqui and garrigue cover are relatively less affected from fragmentation.  While the natural patches become isolated, the corridors between them are diminishing, hence decrease in the connectivity index.  While the Bafa Lake Nature Park does not experience any edge effect, Dilek Peninsula Big Meander Delta National Park is dealing with increasing edge effects.  Upcoming land uses indicate increasing possibilities of edge effects in the future.  Recommendations with regards to the sustainable landscape protection are presented.