Matters Which Must Be Known In The Process Of Urban Transformation

With the increase of the population in cities, requests of the new accommodation of the inhabitants and the necessity of enlargement of the living quarters augment day after day. In Turkey, the most part of urbanization, from their beginning, were realized unplanned since they were ill-planned or never planned and studies territorial were never realized. Consequently, irregular urbanization realized because of augmentation of the cities which were unplanned.

Considering that Turkey is in the zone of earthquake, besides the unplanned urbanizations, the existence of the buildings constructed with unsafe materials augments the level of fatal risk.

Administrative managements and the municipals currently make significant arrangements in order to reduce these fatal risks as well as to create livable environments. Urban transformation is the most essential examples of these arrangements.

I. The Purpose of the Urban Transformation

The ultimate purpose of the urban transformation is to prevent the potential loss of life and property and to transform the old and disordered towns into the healthy, safe and arranged places. Thus, the structures will be strengthened as well as the environment will be rehabilitated. The regulation on urbanization passed into law through the Law of Transformation of Areas under the Disaster Risks numbered 6306 entered into force in 2012. The scope of this law is to determine the procedures and principles regarding the rehabilitation, clearance, and renovations of areas and buildings at disaster risks in accordance with relevant standards with a view to creating healthy and safe living environment. While planning the transformation, the purpose is identified and new plans of the field and the structures are organized within the frame of this purpose. We can simply analyze this purpose under below-mentioned three main titles;

a. The urban transformation which aims amelioration and the beautification of the city,

b. The urban transformation which aims to protect the cultural and historical property and nature of the city

c. The urban transformation which aims to protect the disasters

II. Application Systems to Be Followed During the Planning Phases

Actually, the urban transformation contains many application systems. The most important application systems include redevelopment, rehabilitation, integration and revitalization. The purpose of these applications is to generate the strategies which aim to prevent unnecessary urban expansions and to create the occasions to use the urban places in a voluminous way. While performing this purpose, the economic development approach to raise the quality of life and welfare, must be priory considered.

It should not be forgotten that, the urban transformation projects’ objectives are not only the rehabilitation, strengthening and beautification of the right owner’s buildings, but also, environment planning and creating better, healthier and safer urbans. Therefore, municipalities and the administrative managements are obliged to grant financial aids to all restricted or non-restricted real right owners whose buildings are in the scope of the urban transformation project, in accordance with the related law provisions.

III. The Process of the Urban Transformation and its Application

From the beginning of the urban transformation project, a strict follow-up process is initiated between the apartment owners and (if exists) the building contractors. Here, there are some points to take into consideration for the apartment owners. If the urban transformation shall be realized through the building contractors, the contractor must be attentively chosen and they have to demand from the contractor to prepare the most convenient plans/projects according to the desires and common benefits and interests of all the apartment owners. If needed, it must be negotiated with more than one contractor and the most suitable one must be chosen.

If we take the process in hand step by step, the below-mentioned phases must be followed;

a. If available, architectural projects for the building is obtained from the City Development and Land Registry Directorates,

b. After this stage, an agreement process is initiated between the apartment owners and building contractors. The building owners decide unanimously among themselves in order to choose the building contractor and decide about new flat sizes, materials to use, duration etc. It must be noted that 2/3 of votes of building owners is required in order to decide the building contractor and the project.

c. Later on, the application to the Minister of Environment and Urbanization is made in order to obtain a risky structure detection report. The detection of the risky structure is made by the apartment owners or by their legal representatives, at their own costs. There is no necessity of 2/3 majority of the apartment owners in order to obtain the detection report. An apartment owner can also apply for it individually. If the detection is not done by the apartment owners, the Ministry or the Government may detect the structure by itself.

d. The result of the detection report is transmitted to the required authorities (Ministry of Environment and Urbanization & Directorate of Urban Transformation).

e. After this stage, the 60 (sixty) days of destruction process is initiated and the process is notified to the apartment owners. The objection to the detection report is possible and it can be made by the apartment owners. However, this objection must be made not later than 15 (fifteen) days after the notification.

f. Within the prescribed time for the destruction of the building, electricity line, water line and natural gas line are cut off, for 60 (sixty) days, which is necessary for the destruction.

g. If the building is not destructed within 60 (sixty) days, prescribed period by the Ministry, an additional time over 30 (thirty) days is granted.

h. Meanwhile, the evacuation process of the risky building initiates. After the evacuation, the cut off of the lines are documented and within 6 days (through the regulation in law numbered 6306), the demolition license is granted. A criminal complaint can be filed before Public Prosecution Office for the apartment owners and the lessees who did not evacuate the building.

i. The shares belonging to the apartment owners who do not agree to the destruction of the building can be sold to the other apartment owners by auction. The shares which are not purchased by the other apartment owners may be purchased by the Ministry.

j. The demolition is made.

k. The new structure is projected by the apartment owners and the building contractors, as previously agreed.

l. The construction starts after obtainment of the license from the Ministry.

m. After the construction is completed, occupancy permit is taken from the Ministry for the new building.

IV. Financial Supports for the Owners and Lessees

There exist financial aids to all restricted or non-restricted real right owners whose buildings are in the scope of the urban transformation project in accordance with the related law provisions. The process of reconstruction or recruitment of the risky structures, based on the right owners’ and community’s security of life and property, must be carried out urgently and issueless. Meantime, the objective is to reduce the victimization of the property right owners. In this regard, the government provides financial supports to the right owners.

a. If you are a lessee in the building subject to urban transformation; the government provides two different financial supports to the lessees who live in such building for one or more than one year. The government grants non-repayable aid, for the removal expenses and in case of buying a new flat, the government provides convenience for obtainment a mortgage loan of 100.000.-TL which will be repayable.
b. If you are an apartment owner in the building subject to urban transformation; 18 months of rent allowance is granted during the period of reconstruction or recruitment of the building. In case of buying a new flat, the government provides convenience for obtainment a mortgage loan of 100.000.-TL which will be repayable.

It must be noted that the lessees and the owners must leave the building and transfer their residence addresses to their new temporary addresses without delay in order to obtain the demolition permit which is obviously necessary to demolish the risky building and to benefit from the financial supports that are granted by the government to the owners and to the lessees. Otherwise, the evacuation will be carried out by the law enforcement officers and the government, in case that the evacuation is not fulfilled within the prescribed period. The owners who evacuated the building and moved to the new building must transfer their residence addresses to their new addresses in order for initiation of the demolition process.

As it is seen, the municipalities and the local governments subsidize the city-dwellers for the impulsion of the urban transformation. The aim of these supports is to minimize the number of the risky structures in the cities and to regulate the urbanization in order to obtain decent city plans. The citizens’ duty here is to implicate the risky and old buildings in the urban transformation plans without delay. Thus, the number, of the risky buildings which are the reason of the injury and the death, by reason of the earthquake will be reduced and there will be more livable places for the citizens.