Exploring Identity Issues in Development Areas of Vernacular Rural Settlements: A Case Study of Behramkale, Türkiye


  • Assist. Prof. Dr. Didem Boyacıoğlu Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture and Design, Ozyegin University, Türkiye https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3320-3405
  • Dr. Özgür Göçer Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture and Design, Ozyegin University, Türkiye
  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ebru Ergöz Karahan School of Architecture, Design and Planning, The University of Sydney, Australia




Vernacular Rural Heritage, Architectural Identity, Development Area, Identity-based Design, People-centred Design


Sustainable rural development is a challenging issue, considering the pressure of change brought by the demands of globalisation and intensified tourism activities in rural vernacular settlements. While studies in this field often focus on historical centres, research on the distinctive urban and architectural identity of “village development areas” in rural vernacular settlements remains scarce. To address this gap in the literature, a field study was conducted in the vernacular rural settlement of Behramkale, located in the Northern Aegean region of Türkiye. The study explored the continuity of architectural and urban identity and its significance. The research involved a qualitative assessment of primary data obtained through architectural surveys and archival documents collected in 2017 and 2021. Data analysis not only focused on static features of place identity but included dynamic and perceptual features of place identity. Planning policy inadequacies and the implications of top-down decisions on vernacular rural Türkiye are discussed. The key finding from the study highlights the necessity for a more participatory and site-specific approach to preserving vernacular rural heritage’s urban and architectural identity for sustainable development. In this regard, the paper proposes that an identity-based and people-centred approach should be integrated into the policies for the development areas of vernacular rural settlements. This integration aims to preserve the local architectural identity and promote a belongingness community among residents.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Assist. Prof. Dr. Didem Boyacıoğlu , Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture and Design, Ozyegin University, Türkiye

Didem Boyacıoğlu is an Asist. Prof. Dr. in Özyeğin University, Türkiye. She graduated from İstanbul Technical University, Architecture Department. She took her master’s degree from the Restoration Program and her doctorate from the History of Architecture Program of the same university. Since 2010, she has been giving design and history courses in several universities. She has articles published in national and international journals, in the fields of history and theory of architecture, and heritage conservation.

Dr. Özgür Göçer, Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture and Design, Ozyegin University, Türkiye

Dr Gocer is an architect and she holds a PhD in Building Science from the Istanbul Technical University (Turkey). Before joining the University of Sydney as a lecturer, she was doing a post-doc at the Indoor Environmental Quality Lab with the study of “The impact of indoor environment quality on work efficiency and building energy performance in intelligent workplaces”. Her project was focused on the relationship between indoor environmental quality design parameters and work productivity. Her research interests relate to the sustainable building design, building and building materials performance simulations, and post-occupancy evaluation for indoor and outdoor spaces.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ebru Ergöz Karahan, School of Architecture, Design and Planning, The University of Sydney, Australia

Ebru Ergöz Karahan is an Associate Professor in Architecture and works at Özyeğin University in Türkiye. As an architect, she worked for several national and international construction firms. Recently, Karahan has been involved in national and international workshops and conferences and has works published in national and international books and journals. Sustainable cities and housing, occupant behavior and energy use, post occupancy evaluation are among her research interests.


Abusaada, H., & Elshater, A. (2023). Semantic similarities between personality, identity, character, and singularity within the context of the city or urban, neighbourhood, and place in urban planning and design. International Planning Studies, 28(2), 193–217. https://doi.org/10.1080/13563475.2023.2205029

AL-Mohannadi, A., Furlan, R., & Grosvald, M. (2023). Women’s spaces in the vernacular Qatari courtyard house: how privacy and gendered spatial segregation shape architectural identity. Open House International, 48(1), 100–118. https://doi.org/10.1108/OHI-01-2022-0011

Alzahrani, A. (2022). Understanding the role of architectural identity in forming contemporary architecture in Saudi Arabia. Alexandria Engineering Journal, 61(12), 11715–11736. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aej.2022.05.041

Anastasiou, D., Tasopoulou, A., Gemenetzi, G., Gareiou, Z., & Zervas, E. (2022). Public’s perceptions of urban identity of Thessaloniki, Greece. Urban Design International, 27(1), 18–42. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41289-021-00172-8

Arslan, N., & Aslan, B. B. (2014). Living in the Rocks, Assos, An Archaeological Guide. Homer.

Asatekin, G. (2005). Understanding traditional residential architecture in Anatolia. In Journal of Architecture (Vol. 10, Issue 4, pp. 389–414). https://doi.org/10.1080/13602360500285518

Balta, S., & Atik, M. (2022). Rural planning guidelines for urban-rural transition zones as a tool for the protection of rural landscape characters and retaining urban sprawl: Antalya case from Mediterranean. Land Use Policy, 119. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2022.106144

Bascherini, E. (2018). Urban and Architectural Identity, the Meaning of the Architectural Vocabulary (pp. 994–1000). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57937-5_102

Berleant, A. (1997). Living in the Landscape: Toward an Aesthetics of Environment. University Press of Kansas.

Boyacıoğlu, D., Göçer, Ö., Karahan, E., Benli, G., & Özorhon, G. (2015). Exploring The Applicability Of International Village Design Guidelines In Turkey. (pp. 15-26). RE-ConD’15 International Conference, 15–26.

Çorapçıoğlu, K., Çakır, S., Aysel, N. R., Görgülü, H. C., Kolbay, D., Seçkin, N. P., & Ünsal, E. (2011). Kayseri Kırsalında Yöresel Mimari Özelliklerin Belirlenmesi Rehber Kitap. (Determination of Local Architectural Characteristics in Kayseri Rural Settlements Guide Book), Ankara: Çevre ve Şehircilik Bakanlığı Mekansal Genel Planlama Müdürlüğü.

Çorapçıoğlu, K., Özgünler, M., Erem, Ö., Seçkin, N. P., & Oğuz, Z. (2010). Balıkesir Kırsalında Yöresel Doku ve Mimari Özelliklere Uygun Yapılaşmanın Yaygınlaştırılması (Building in accordance with the Vernacular Texture and Architectural Characteristics in Balıkesir Rural Settlements) , İstanbul: T.C. Bayındırlık ve İskan Bakanlığı Teknik Araştırma ve Uygulama Genel Müdürlüğü.

Department of Economic and Social Affairs, U. N. D. of E. and S. A. (2021). World Social Report 2021 Reconsidering Rural Development. United Nation,

Duan, J., Lan, W., & Jiang, Y. (2022). An evaluation approach to spatial identity in historic urban areas from a humanistic perspective. Frontiers of Architectural Research, 11(5), 806–814. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foar.2021.12.009

Erdem, N. ., & Yalçınöz, H. (2023). Village Law No. 3367 and Village Settlement Related to its Plan Applications: Example of Osmaniye Dereli Village. Advanced Geomatics, 3(1), 1–8.

Ergöz Karahan, E., Göçer, Ö., Boyacıoğlu, D., & Shrestha, P. (2023). Measuring “sustainable development” in vernacular settlements: a case study Behramkale, Türkiye. Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCHMSD-06-2022-0100

Farhad, S., Maghsoodi Tilaki, M. J., & Hedayati Marzbali, M. (2022). Returning to historic neighborhoods: exploring the role of architectural identity elements on the formation of physical identity. Housing, Care and Support, 25(2), 90–106. https://doi.org/10.1108/HCS-09-2021-0024

García Esparza, J. A. (2018). Clarifying dynamic authenticity in cultural heritage. A look at vernacular built environments. ICOMOS University Forum 1, 1-12.

Gocer, O., Shrestha, P., Boyacioglu, D., Gocer, K., & Karahan, E. (2021). Rural gentrification of the ancient city of Assos (Behramkale) in Turkey. Journal of Rural Studies, 87, 146–159. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2021.09.012

Guler K. (2020). Kamunun Kırsal Mimari İçin Gelecek Öngörüleri (State Visions for the Rural Architecture in Turkey). . Mimarist , 20(67), 65–77.

Hasgül, E., Olgun, İ., & Karakoç, E. (2021). Vernacular rural heritage in Turkey: an intuitional overview for a new living experience. Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, 11(4), 440–456. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCHMSD-01-2020-0021

Ibrahim, R., Mushatat, S., & Abdelmonem, M. G. (2014). AUTHENTICITY, IDENTITY AND SUSTAINABILITY IN POST-WAR IRAQ: Reshaping the Urban Form of Erbil City. Journal of Islamic Architecture, 3(2), 58. https://doi.org/10.18860/jia.v3i2.2533

Kandemir, O. (2017). Architectural and Urban Identity Transformation of Eskisehir - An Anatolian City. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, 245(4). https://doi.org/10.1088/1757-899X/245/4/042031

Karahan, E. E., Göçer, Ö., Göçer, K., & Boyacıoğlu, D. (2021). An investigation of occupant energy-saving behavior in vernacular houses of behramkale (Assos). Sustainability (Switzerland), 13(23). https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313476

Kavas, K. R. (2015). Environmental Anaesthesia and False Architecture: The Case Study of Western Taurus Mountains. Adalya, 325–350.

Lynch, K. (1960). The Image of the City. Technology Press.

Lynch, K. (1984). Good City Form. MIT Press.

Nooraddin, H. (2012). Architectural Identity in an Era of Change. Developing Country Studies, 2(10), 81–96.

Oruç, O., Özeş, A. E., & Konak, T. A. (2017). Yöresel Mimari Özelliklere Uygun Konut Projeleri- I (Residential Projects in Accordance with Vernacular Architectural Properties). Ankara: Çevre ve Şehircilik Bakanlığı.

Polat E.O. (2016). Yoresel Mimari Projeler”: Bir Projeler Dizisi Sunumuna Dair Düsünceler, (“Rural Architectural Projects”: Thoughts on the Presentation of a Project Series). Mimarlik, 388, 20–22.

Relph E.C. (1976). Place and placelessness. Pion.

Said, S. Y., Aksah, H., & Ismail, E. D. (2013). Heritage Conservation and Regeneration of Historic Areas in Malaysia. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 105, 418–428. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.11.044

Saleh M.A.E. (1998). The Integration of Tradition and Modernity: A Search for an Urban and Architectural Identity in Arriyadh, The Capital of Saudi Arabia. Habitat International, 22(4), 571–589. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0197-3975(98)00020-4

Salgın, B., Bayram, Ö., Akgün, A., & Agyekum, K. (2017). Sustainable Features of Vernacular Architecture: Housing of Eastern Black Sea Region as a Case Study. Arts, 6(4), 11. https://doi.org/10.3390/arts6030011

Salman, M. (2019). Sustainability and Vernacular Architecture: Rethinking What Identity Is. In Urban and Architectural Heritage Conservation within Sustainability. IntechOpen. https://doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.82025

Serdaroglu U. (1995). Behramkale Assos. Arkeoloji ve Sanat Yayinlari.

Şimşek, G. (2020). Kırsal Politikalar ve Halkın Aydın’daki Kırsal Yerleşime Bağlılığı (Türkiye) (Rural Policies and Community’s Attachment to Rural Settlement in Aydın (Turkey). In Journal Of Emerging Economies and Policy, 6 (2), 24-36.

Skataric, G., Spalevic, V., Popovic, S., Perosevic, N., & Novicevic, R. (2021). The vernacular and rural houses of agrarian areas in the zeta region, montenegro. Agriculture (Switzerland), 11(8). https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11080717

Surchi, Z., & Nafa, H. (2021). Appraisal of Place Identity through Tangible Elements of Cultural Features in Erbil City. Civil Engineering and Architecture, 9(7), 2528–2541. https://doi.org/10.13189/cea.2021.090736

Varolgüneş, F. K., & Canan, F. (2017). Disidentification of Historical City Centers: A Comparative Study of the Old and New Settlements of Mardin, Turkey. International Journal of Civil, Environmental, Structural, Construction and Architectural Engineering, 11(5), 612–619. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1130487

Vythoulka, A., Delegou, E. T., Caradimas, C., & Moropoulou, A. (2021). Protection and revealing of traditional settlements and cultural assets, as a tool for sustainable development: The case of kythera island in Greece. Land, 10(12). https://doi.org/10.3390/land10121324

Yasin Baper, S., & Hassan, A. S. (2012). Factors Affecting the Continuity of Architectural Identity. American Transactions on Engineering & Applied Sciences, 1(3), 227–236.




How to Cite

Boyacıoğlu, D., Göçer, Özgür, & Karahan, E. E. (2023). Exploring Identity Issues in Development Areas of Vernacular Rural Settlements: A Case Study of Behramkale, Türkiye. Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs, 7(1), 51–68. https://doi.org/10.25034/ijcua.2023.v7n1-4



Resilience and Built Environment