The Determination of Green Infrastructure Components of Van City Center and Its Near Surroundings

Ayse Demir, Emel Baylan


The planning and application of green infrastructure (GI) system contribute to protection of nature and the quality of urban life by supporting the ecological, economic and social functions of urban areas. Uncontrolled urban sprawl, illegal settlement and land use which neglects the sustainability of landscapes and open-green spaces negatively affect both the ecosystem functions in the city of Van and its immediate surroundings and the quality of urban life. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to determine the current state of the green infrastructure components of the city of Van and its surroundings in order to inform green infrastructure planning. To determine these components, consisting of the elements such as core areas, and corridors, nine ecological and cultural parameters were chosen; soil composition, vegetation, important natural areas and habitats, hydrological elements, slope, land use/land cover, protected areas, transportation networks and population density. In the study, following the field observations, the analytical procedures were completed using the Spatial Analyst and 3D Analyst tools in the ARCGIS 10.2 software. Ten core areas, sixteen matrixs and four corridors were determined as the green infrastructure components in the study area. The fact that more than 50% of the study area proved to be made up of green infrastructure components shows that the existing green infrastructure in the city and its near surroundings are interconnected. Core areas are mainly composed of wetland habitats along the shores of Lake Van and its tributaries, and a relatively smaller proportion of which were steppe, made up a small area (15%) in the study. The limited, small area covered by the core areas points to the threat of landscape fragmentation in wetland and steppe habitats in the study area as well as to biodiversity loss. The lack of green infrastructure components in Van city center and the determination that this region is unsuitable for the development of green infrastructure components shows that urgent attention should be given to the development of large and small green areas within the city. Taking both natural and historical protected areas together when choosing parameters for determining the GI components ensured that the core areas were assessed as important GI components not only in terms of their ecological functions, but also taking their cultural values into account. With this kind of integrated approach in planning future green infrastructure system in the city, core areas can play a role in protecting natural and cultural landscape components as well as providing cultural ecosystem services.

Keywords: Urban Sprawl, Wetlands, Steppe Habitat, Natural and Cultural Protected Areas, Open-Green Spaces

DOI: 10.7176/JSTR/5-2-38

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ISSN (online) 2422-8702