Emerging Towers in Bayraklı: Sustainability as a Branding Strategy or a Tool for Local Development?
Received: 14 June 2015 / Revised: 22 July 2015 / Accepted: 27 July 2015 / Published: 5 August 2015
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Sustainability and eco-friendly towers have been among the most discussed topics of contemporary high-rise building design. High-rise buildings have been an important part of the modern economy with their concentration of human capital and branding value for the urban context. In addition, during
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Sustainability and eco-friendly towers have been among the most discussed topics of contemporary high-rise building design. High-rise buildings have been an important part of the modern economy with their concentration of human capital and branding value for the urban context. In addition, during the recent years, to address the problems of sprawl, environmental, and ecological concerns, sustainable high-rise building design has gained further significance and visibility in architecture and planning literature. In existing literature, sustainability of high-rises is defined mainly through ecological design and green architecture principles in individual building scale. However, sustainability in the case of high-rises remains an ill-defined term, as there is neglect of further long term effects of these buildings on the social, cultural, economic, and resiliency contexts of cities. When not integrated with the broader urban context, sustainability falls into the gap to be perceived as “greenwash”, which stands for a superficially-employed concept used as a fashionable branding strategy. Within this general framework, this study will examine the emerging towers in Bayrakli, Izmir, which is designated by the local government as a high-rise development zone. The study will focus on high-rise buildings (completed and under construction) in relation to the perception of sustainability and question whether or not sustainability is used as a greenwash branding strategy or a contextual element that is well-embedded in architectural design process and urban planning decisions. The method of research will be a descriptive case study through semi-structured interviews with the design team and real estate professionals of the buildings, as well as media analysis and consideration of the local municipality reports about Bayrakli. The results indicate that sustainability has become a principle embraced and advertised in the building scale as an environmental concern more than it is embraced in the urban and social context.