"Only buildings, not a city, can be constructed in a year"

"Only buildings, not a city, can be constructed in a year"
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What should be urgently done is providing earthquake victims with sound temporary shelter, while cities should be rebuilt through scientific planning, urban planner have said.

Days after Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan prioritized construction of residences over providing urgent shelter for earthquake victims and said the government's objective is "to complete the construction of enough residences within a year to provide quality and safe housing for the victims," Turkey's chamber of urban planners warned that a city requires more than just buildings, and that plans should be made accordingly.

Turkey's Chamber of Urban Planning Engineers released a declaration on Thursday in criticism of any overhasty move to launch large scale construction projects that will supposedly revive the cities that have been devastated by the twin earthquakes on 6 February.

"Cities are not merely places of accommodation, but also places of social interaction, of work and of [social-economic] reproduction. In this context, cities should be able to address various social needs including employment, transport, accommodation, leisure, health, education," urban planners said, adding:

"A 'site with structures' obtained by the construction of duplicate residences that lack any historical context, constructed in a particular area only because the area has a solid ground, cannot be defined as a city. Since the disaster was on city scale, the rebuilding should likewise be planned."

They added:

"For this reason, a number of buildings can be constructed within a year, but a city cannot."

Stressing that urgent needs of the victims should be prioritized, they concluded:

"What should be urgently done is providing the earthquake victims with their basic needs, namely providing sound temporary shelters for accommodation in the short and medium terms. The cities should be rebuilt and socially revived through planning in the light of scientific methods and reason, without over haste and without stripping them of their cultural identities."