From Complexity to Sustainability": Proposing a Holistic Management Approach for Sustainable Development of Complex Multi-Layered Cultural Landscapes: The Case of Gölyazı (Apolyont) -Bursa / Turkey”

Okumuş G., Bilgin Altınöz A. G.

Heritage and the Sustainable Development Goals, International LDE-Heritage conference, 26-28 November 2019, TU Delft, The Netherlands, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 26 - 28 November 2019, pp.118-120

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Rotterdam
  • Country: Netherlands
  • Page Numbers: pp.118-120


Multi-layered cultural landscapes are the products of the reciprocal interaction between nature, people and culture, which are dynamically shaped with political, economic, legal and administrative forces through a continual historical development process. Gölyazı (Apolyont) located within the province of Bursa in Turkey, is one of the good representatives of such multi-layered cultural landscapes in Anatolia. The settlement is located on a semi-island, which seasonally becomes an island, in the Uluabat Lake, has a very special natural context with endemic characteristics. The integrity of the natural and built-up environment based on the indigenous relationship and dialog between people, nature and island-coastal culture have sustained all through its continual inhabitancy from Apolyont in antiquity until today’s Gölyazı. This dynamic, complex and continual historical development process, shaped with natural, historical, socio-cultural, physical, economic, political, legal and administrative factors and forces, contribute to the identity and specificity of Gölyazı as a complex multilayered cultural landscape.

However, significant changes in the economic, political, legal and administrative forces both in local and global scales mainly after 1980s, had various reflections in the urban and regional development and planning policies for the region. Hence, rapid industrialization and development of the neighboring mega-provinces of İstanbul and Bursa create an important threat for the natural and built-up context of the cultural landscape of Gölyazı. In addition to this, with its significant natural and cultural properties and its location at the vicinity of these mega-provinces, the place became an attractive target for tourism based development, which threatens not only the natural and built-up physical context, but also its socio-cultural context. Furthermore, again due to the variety of the natural and cultural values of Gölyazı (Apolyont) and its setting, there are different types of conservation sites ranging from natural, archaeological and urban conservation sites, in local, national, regional and international levels. These conservation sites, boundaries of which sometimes overlap with each other, have different status and limitations, while they are under the control and authority of different administrative and legal bodies. This top-down and fragmental conservation decision-making and management system also causes another chaos, and threatens the integrity and multi-layeredness of the settlement as well as its natural and socio-cultural contexts.

All these top-down and fragmented conservation, development and management policies, mechanisms and decisions, which are incompatible with the indigenous character of Gölyazı, resulted in a gradual loss of various tangible and intangible values of the heritage place, as well as its natural, spatial and socio-cultural integrity. In this regard, today, there is a need to re-establish a holistic, balanced and sustainable conservation and development approach, in which the complex and multi-layered character of the cultural landscape is considered.

This paper provides a discussion on how to consider and manage conservation and development with an inclusive, holistic and sustainable manner. Accordingly, the paper proposes a conservation management framework with a multi-temporal, multi-scale, multi-valued, dynamic and holistic approach, considering contextual relationships and historic continuity, for sustainable development of Gölyazı (Apolyont) as a representative of complex multi-layered cultural landscapes.