Unkapani Upcycle: Cultivating Grassroots Enterprise and Urbanism in Istanbul | The Plan Journal

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Jeff Balmer
Demet Mutman Uluengin
Mehmet Bengü Uluengin
Peter Wong

Pervasive environmental and social crises necessitate the invention of new models for conceptualizing architecture. In pursuit of a more sustainable and equitable paradigm, our research lies at the intersection of social equity through community engagement, the adaptive enhancement of architecture and urban fabric, and sustainable practices centered on the salvage and reuse of materials and infrastructure. Our research questions are prompted by this same approach: can the emergent conditions and needs of a fully contemporary project help inform its expression, use, and cycle of life in more advantageous ways than the two positions above? How might we structure an a posteriori methodology that allows for flexible project-making alongside the changing conditions of buildings in time? The current locus for our research is the city of Istanbul, a metropolitan region unique in its historical, cultural, and political contexts, yet simultaneously representative of pervasive social, economic, and environmental conditions in cities across the globe.