Evaluation of Spatial Change and Development Process of Denizli Central Urban Area

Denizli’de Merkezi Kentsel Alan


  • Nida Alkın
  • Melih Birik




Denizli City Center, Spatial Transformation, Urban Polarities and Routes, Urban Morphology, Urban Structure


In this article, the formation of the central urban area in Denizli is evaluated through the concepts of urban scale, time-space interaction, spatial polarities of nodes and routes, and the potentials of the central area for the development of the city are revealed.
The spatial transformation that the centers have undergone with social, political, economic, and natural dynamics, from their emergence to the present day, have left traces in the urban pattern at significant historical breaking points and have affected the development of cities. It is important to identify the interaction of the spatial poles, or in other words, nodes and connections that shape the central area, in order to understand the spatial development process of cities and thus to evaluate planning and spatial intervention decisions at a holistic level. Based on this approach, in this article, spatial analyses have been developed through conceptual discussions to determine how the central urban areas are shaped in similar medium-sized cities in Turkey and to reveal the physical potentials of centers through the example of Denizli. The research methodology was based on spatial analyzes within the concepts of city scale, time and space interaction, spatial polarities and routes. Through cross referencing and questioning these concepts at spatio-temporal breaking points, it is determined how Denizli central area is expanded and what potentials it offers for the future spatial development.
According to evaluation of analysis, it is determined that the single-centred settlement in Kaleiçi grew by spatial leaping (leapfrogging) at the beginning of the 20th century with the choice of location for the station. In the period until the 1950s, it was determined that the old and new centres defined the urban central area by hosting a heterogeneous urban pattern adding each other. After the 1950s, it is observed that the central area has spread by urban void filling and extension spreading on the main arteries. The building density and number of levels are increasing in the central area, spatial diversity is decreasing with similar apartment buildings and the housing texture spreading around the centre is becoming homogenous. With the clustering of functions such as administration and education along the linear axis, it is seen that the central area is separated from the old centre due to the fragmented structure of the developing texture after 1980s.
When the time-space interaction is evaluated, it is seen that the modern centre, which developed around İstasyon Street until the 1950s, connected to the historical centre in Kaleiçi, which has been continuous for more than a thousand years, and formed a perceivable integrated area. On the other hand, the demolition and reconstruction process in the 1970s and the increase in car-oriented public spaces have created significant breaks in the spatial continuity observed in this integrated area. It has been determined that the new urban context created by project-oriented applications in the newly developed linear centre after the 1980s does not have strong connections with the historical centre.
The urban pattern formed by the small-scale functions located at spatial nodes that existed in Kaleiçi in relation to the road network connected to the old city gates continued its existence until the end of the 19th century. Despite the extension spreading and rapid expansion and increase in density in the centre after the 1950s, it is understood that new spatial nodes of attraction were not formed, and the connections with the existing nodes were weak within the homogenous urban pattern spreading in the periphery. Along the central axis that developed towards the southeast in the 1980s, it is observed that the nodes of attraction have moved away from each other, and the structural integrity has deteriorated by weakening the spatial relationality with the historical centre.
As a result, it is seen that the central urban area of Denizli, which first grew by spatial leaping outside the city walls, then expanded and spread by filling the urban gaps and today it grows linearly. The nodes and identity zones belonging to different periods representing the development stages of the city have the potential to be articulated on a route that combines memory spaces at the city scale with new holistic approaches. There is a need to consider projects by evaluating the integrity of the central urban area through conservation, renovation, and urban design perspective, and to operate planning and design processes by considering the diversity of spatial nodes. Public projects to be developed in the central urban area should be evaluated through perceptible urban scale, spatial nodes and connections, the continuity of the central area, within the scope of a sustainable, holistic programme.





Derived from Postgraduate Studies