Participatory Design Model in Mass Housing Production for Low Income: The Case of Van City

Konut Üretiminde Katılımcı Süreçler


  • Mustafa Gülen
  • Deniz İncedayı



Van City, Mass Housing, Participation, Architectural Design


While the housing issue has been discussed on a global and local scale since the 20th century, in the field of architecture, the organization, design and presentation forms of building production have changed as a result of social changes and transformations, and user participation has come to the fore. It is possible to mention that the meaning and production style of the house has changed in Turkey, especially after the 2000s, with TOKI taking place as a ‘new’ actor in housing production. In this study, the concepts such as “public housing, “user”, “participation in architectural design” etc. are exemplified over thousands of housing units built by TOKI in the city of Van. In the study, a flexible model with user participation, which can be applied in mass housing production for low-income people, is proposed. This model is intended to form a basis for the production of mass housing for low-income people and other studies in this field. The method of the study is based on the observations made after the 2011 Van earthquake. The relevant literature was scanned, verbal interviews and surveys were conducted with the users, the drawings and visual documents related to the public housing areas were examined, the findings made were visualized with photographs. The study, which describes and examines mass housing production in this form and proposes a synthesis model based on existing experiences and knowledge, can also be seen as a contribution to the “user- participated design” literature, which is increasingly common in housing production. As a result of the study, it is expected to be understood that there may be a “new” or “different” production model in mass housing production over Van TOKI houses. Structuring processes have an important place in the change that cities experience due to multifaceted factors. The general aim of this study can be summarized under three interrelated titles. First the concept of ‘participation’ in the architectural design process is discussed from different perspectives, secondly interpretation of the satisfaction surveys made with users in TOKİ residences in Van city, and the third one is to propose a synthesis model in which different actors are involved in mass housing production for the low-income in line with the data obtained. The actors emphasize that the production of mass housing directly or indirectly concerns all the users of the city, and the importance of informing the residents of the city and seeking their opinions in the whole process from land selection to construction. While the production model of TOKİ was criticized in general, it was emphasized that the model did not contribute to the urban economy. In the proposed model, mass housing design evolves from a process in which experts are at the focal point, to a multi-stakeholder, democratic process that is shaped in line with the wishes and needs of all urban actors, who are directly or indirectly affected by production, especially the user, and contribute with their experiences, thoughts and opinions. Instead of a production process imposed by experts, the model has been built on a common design process, shaped in line with the demands of the user and other actors, and taking into account expert knowledge. This setup allows for continuous feedback at every stage of the design, allowing discussion and the creation of new alternatives. It is seen that the design process proposed by the model requires a longer period of time compared to conventional production processes, since it offers a new form of organization, data collection, discussion and communication environments. Another important aspect of the proposed model is the determination of the roles and relationships of the actors, who will take part in the design process, with the capacity to start from the most basic unit such as ‘building/residential/private area’ and spread to a wide scale, as needed, to the neighborhood, region and city. The model describes a democratic, pluralistic participatory organization that takes into account local characteristics, social-cultural data in accordance with the context of the place where it will be produced, aims to establish a multi-actor communication and interaction environment, and is shaped by ‘new’ methods and tools in line with user requests and needs. Houses produced individually have left their places to mass production, especially with the social, economic and political dynamics that develop due to population growth, and the traces of the transformation have found their reflections in the physical environment and social life.





Derived from Postgraduate Studies