MIT TechTalk Article

Designing for Turkey's Earthquake Relief: The MIT Adapazari Workshop This past fall, with AKPIA support, MIT students participated in the Adapazari workshop. This is a project for the development of socially and environmentally sustainable housing for victims of Turkey's August 1999 earthquake.

In January the project was presented to Turkish educators, business leaders, engineers, NGO's, and several international organizations such as UNDP, the US Embassy's Economic Development Department, and the Istanbul Technical University.

The small residential community of Adapazari was one of the hardest hit areas in the earthquake. The fall 1999 design workshop, run by MIT Professor Jan Wampler, was conducted with a spring 2000 semester follow-up. A presentation in January served to develop a final design framework and seek material and financial support for the summer 2000 implementation.

The 1999 earthquake devastation happened toward the end of the prime construction season; adequate housing was not available, leaving hundreds of thousands of victims with dire living conditions throughout the winter. The aim of the MIT workshop has been to develop a relatively small (50 units) example community of high impact which will demonstrate both to the local area and to the rest of the world a sustainable way of developing in such places. It is hoped that this community, as a sustainable, long-term example, will be the catalyst for a chain of healthy development for the earthquake victims.

Conceived of by Professor Wampler, he enlisted the help of two former students residing in Istanbul: Barbara M. Brady [BSAD 92] and Rukiye Devres [BSAD 93, MARCH 96].
Professor Wampler has worked with students on sustainable development projects in Latin America, China, and the Hunza Valley of Pakistan, bringing to life the concept that higher learning institutions have much to both offer and learn in contributing to the solutions of real problems around the world.

The vision of the workshop has been the creation of a relatively small scale community, which can act as an example for how appropriate sustainable development may unravel in the Adapazari area, given local cultural, environmental (including seismic), and economic constraints. The goals of the project have been to develop something which draws from the evolved wisdom contained in local vernacular architecture, while addressing the sustainable use of resources and the fragility of the land in this area, and the sensitive nature of cultural heritage and lifestyle.

It is the hope and belief of all involved that this worthwhile investment will be an example of how the human spirit can pool the necessary resources at critical times like these to truly benefit those in need.

For further information contact < wampler@mit.edu>