Social and Cultural Sustainability in Architectural Design Studios
Social and Cultural Sustainability
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AbstractWhat changes are needed to make cities and built environment in globalize world compatible with sustainable development? What are the responsibility of architects and the role of architectural education on this subject? The research presented in this paper is focused on these questions. Sustainability is not a new concept and sustainable development have been widely used but their definition is elusive. The concept of sustainable development summarizes the challenges that the world is facing to manage a global social and economic development. Cities have been given a central place in discussions about sustainability problems and current attention is that some fundamental changes in world-views, values and human behaviors are necessary to sustain human societies. The cultural and social dimensions of a society have strong influence on and are indeed partially composed of the value, norms, customs, social structure and life style of a community. Social and cultural sustainability should, therefore, be recognized, as key dimensions of sustainable development. The rapid change in social, cultural and technological developments in the contemporary and pluralistic world has also necessitated a change in the focus of architectural studies. In order to follow these changes it is essential to adjust design education accordingly. Architectural education as a whole, and particularly the architectural design studio, should be considered as sort of an initiation process where students are introduced to architectural knowledge and the activities with projects of the studio should emphasize the context at a community, regional and global level. This makes it essential for education and research conducted in academic institutions to formulate new solutions for the present and the future in order to better understand if, and how, cities/ architectural product can contribute to the solution of environmental problems. On the basis of these arguments, the paper discusses the relationship between sustainability, the built environment, and the design education by showing that the purpose of the architecture is to create better environments that provide the high quality for the natural and built settings. The paper consists of three main parts. The first part will examine the theoretical literature on the 'concept' and 'indicators' of sustainability mainly focused on socio-cultural issues and the relations with design studios will be presented. The second part will cover the case study to test these ideas. The method of case study is based on a general evaluation of the architectural design studios of architectural departments in Turkey as to indicate if sustainability is taken as one of the design criteria’s in design projects. As a method, surveys will be send out to architectural departments in Turkey as to indicate if sustainability is taken as one of the design issues in design projects. The study concludes with some brief observations about the relevance of these ideas to contemporary debates concerning educational responses to sustainable development.