Earthquakes, sustainable settlements and traditional construction techniques


  • Gülru Koca image/svg+xml Işık University

    Assoc. Prof. Gülru Koca received her BSc in Architecture from ITU in 2000, MSc and PhD from the same institution in 2004 and 2010. She is currently working at Işık University, Department of Interior Architecture and Environmental Design. Her main research interests are evaluation of building materials, timber building materials, traditional building techniques, non-destructive testing, sustainability in materials.



rural region, seismic resilience, sustainability, traditional building systems, conservation


Urbanization is increasing all around the world due to population growth and big cities receive a high volume of migrants due to economic and social reasons. However, rapid population growth should be prevented in big cities in order to provide comfortable living conditions to the population. When urban planning practices do not catch the speed of urbanization; the tendency towards vertical architecture increases, the amount of green space decreases and problems related to unplanned urbanization come to the fore. These important problems, which have considerably increased recently in Türkiye, may lead greater problems in many respects. The parallel and self-sufficient development of urban and rural areas, which is defined as urban sustainability, is considered as the best-case scenario in urban planning practices. This aim is adopted nowadays by most of the countries in the world as it prevents rapid population growth in cities and depopulation in rural areas. Decisions which are taken to ensure urban sustainability are important for all countries. However, these decisions become even more important in regions with disaster risk. As the majority of Türkiye’s land area is under seismic risk, the problems which may arise due to rapid urbanization during an earthquake should be prevented. The damage and losses which could occur during an earthquake and the security, health, education problems which will arise after the earthquake can be solved by preventing dense housing and uncontrolled migration in urban areas. The connection between urban and rural areas should be strengthened. Besides, the social and economic sustainability of the rural area should be ensured. Settlements should be designed away from fault lines with a holistic approach as “living spaces” which consist components such as; transportation, infrastructure, green spaces and educational spaces. Additionally; the use of appropriate construction techniques and materials should be accepted as a priority. In this context, it can be mentioned that traditional building techniques, which have been developed over centuries and whose deficiencies have been improved during this period, should be preferred especially in rural areas. In this study, the criteria that gain importance in the construction of earthquake resistant and sustainable settlements are evaluated on Türkiye case. The precautions which should be taken to ensure rural sustainability and to prevent the depopulation of rural areas are emphasized. Within this scope, the importance of protecting the architectural texture and regenerating traditional building culture was discussed in constructing earthquake resistant settlements.


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How to Cite

Koca, G. (2023). Earthquakes, sustainable settlements and traditional construction techniques. Journal of Design for Resilience in Architecture and Planning, 4((Special Issue), 117–140.



Resilience in Crisis