ArticlePDF Available


Water is the source of life for our planet, guided the ancient civilizations, and formed its current footprint on the earth. Water has always been a crucial element of our biological survival; consequently, humankind has permanently settled around it while carrying the responsibility of protecting it. To understand the water pattern in various cities throughout history and analyze how the emerging problems were overcome, Istanbul Technical University Landscape Architecture Department Graduate Level Design Studio was held under the theme of "Around Water". Despite the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on education, international researchers contribute to the studio in a beneficial and diversified manner with the effective use of online tools. As a result of the literature review and the online, multidisciplinary education, and research-based design requirements, a new studio method was developed. Water-based case studies worldwide produced enriched outputs. While creating new discussion environments, the diversified outcomes of the studio "Around Water" contributed to the creation of cumulative studio knowledge.
Journal of Design Studio, spi:1
Aytac, G., Aluclu, G., Dalay, L., Afshar, S. V., (2022), Around Water: A Research-Based Landscape Design Studio
Journal of
Design Studio
spi:1 “Landscape Research” April 2022
Around Water: A Research-Based Landscape
Design Studio
Gülsen Aytac
Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey
Gizem Aluclu
Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey
Lal Dalay
Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey
Sepehr Vaez Afshar
Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey
Received: February 16th 2022, Revised: March 13th 2022, Accepted: March 20th 2022.
Refer:, Aytac, G., Aluclu, G., Dalay, L., Afshar, S. V., (2022), Around Water: A Research-Based Landscape Design Studio, Journal of
Design Studio, v.4, spi.1, pp 35-50,
G. Aytac ORCID: 0000-0003-3666-1970, G. Aluclu ORCID: 0000-0002-3478-8444, L. Dalay ORCID: 0000-0001-7419-3552, S.V. Afshar
ORCID: 0000-0001-8380-2348,
DOI: 10.46474/jds.1074495
© JDS This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Abstract: Water is the source of life for our planet, guided the ancient civilizations, and formed its
current footprint on the earth. Water has always been a crucial element of our biological survival;
consequently, humankind has permanently settled around it while carrying the responsibility of
protecting it. To understand the water pattern in various cities throughout history and analyze how the
emerging problems were overcome, Istanbul Technical University Landscape Architecture
Department Graduate Level Design Studio was held under the theme of "Around Water". Despite the
adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on education, international researchers contribute to the
studio in a beneficial and diversified manner with the effective use of online tools. As a result of the
literature review and the online, multidisciplinary education, and research-based design requirements,
a new studio method was developed. Water-based case studies worldwide produced enriched outputs.
While creating new discussion environments, the diversified outcomes of the studio "Around Water"
contributed to the creation of cumulative studio knowledge.
Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, Landscape architecture, Research-based design studio, Water-based
design, Water-based planning, Water history.
Water is vital for our planet, especially for
living beings. Since the beginning of time,
human beings have constantly searched for
water resources. They built their civilization
near water sources. From small settlements to
large societies established near water, they
improved themselves by supporting large
populations. On the other hand, cities hosted
by civilizations have been the centers of many
significant exchanges in history. In cities,
people shared their natural resources as a
community and their ideas as individuals.
Since water forms the basis of cities, its
presence or absence has significantly affected
the morphology of the cities. Water problems
resulting in crises have always had a growing
effect on the development of civilizations.
Today's urban challenge is water scarcity
caused by climate change, inadequate urban
planning, and unplanned population growth.
Journal of
Design Studio
spi:1 “Landscape Research” April 2022
Journal of Design Studio, spi:1
Aytac, G., Aluclu, G., Dalay, L., Afshar, S. V., (2022), Around Water: A Research-Based Landscape Design Studio
Figure 1: Project Poster
Through historical case studies, water patterns
were studied in the Graduate Level Landscape
Studio "Around Water" in the 2020-2021
Spring Semester Term at Istanbul Technical
University Landscape Architecture
Department. In the studio, the students sought
to understand how the cities overcame the
water-related challenges to be resilient and
sustainable and how they occupied a place in
water history. Conducted online due to the
pandemic conditions, the studio aimed to find
new and creative solutions for 21st-century
cities. The studio projects explored water-
related issues, seeing water as the twenty-first
century's most significant design and planning
challenge. Also, water is one of the most
significant factors in tackling the climate crisis,
with the Conference of Parties (COP) contract
signed for the 26th time.
While water is an element of nature around
which life is shaped and civilizations are
established, today, it is in a position where
cities are under the threat of flooding due to
water surplus or suffering from its absence.
Within the scope of this studio, the discussions
investigated water in every aspect and every
scale, from today's design parameters to the
importance and meaning of water in different
religions in the spiritual dimension. Since the
study was handled as part of a graduate studio
project, it was not carried out around a single
focus. As a method, students were asked to
design a research project. Research topics were
diverse, and they ranged from cisterns to
sinking cities, from basin to water footprint,
from spiritual status to games and
technological innovations.
2. Methodology
Due to Covid-19 pandemic conditions, the
2020-2021 Spring Fall Semester Graduate
Level Project Studio was conducted online.
Within the circumstances of online education,
new education techniques were applied to the
studio. Simultaneously, to follow a research-
based design studio process, a new studio
method was required to face the needs of the
online education system. This research aims to
discuss the newly applied studio method
results and contribute to the literature with the
outcomes. To conduct the study, the research
article was structured as follows. Firstly, a
literature review was done to examine
research-based design studio, online, and
multidisciplinary education systems worldwide
under the title of “landscape architecture
graduate-level studio education”. Secondly, a
new studio method was developed under the
“Around Water” theme. Finally, the outcomes
of the studio were presented with the selected
various case studies and discussed. Projects as
studio outcomes are categorized as "Water
History", "Water-Based Planning", and
"Water-Based Design".
3. Landscape architecture graduate-level
studio education
3.1 Research-Based Design Studio
Developing an idea in a research project often
stems from the experience of practical
problems (Trochim and Donnelly, 2001). As a
method in this graduate-level studio project,
students were asked to carry out a research
project. They started their projects by studying
the literature in their fields. Conducting a
literature review is essential to general
knowledge of the relevant research topic.
Journal of
Design Studio
spi:1 “Landscape Research” April 2022
Journal of Design Studio, spi:1
Aytac, G., Aluclu, G., Dalay, L., Afshar, S. V., (2022), Around Water: A Research-Based Landscape Design Studio
Each process has been planned subjectively in
this project since the theme, scope, and desired
result of each research is different. In a study,
variables direct the research, and each variable
can be considered an entity that can take
different values (Trochim and Donnelly, 2001).
Within the scope of this studio work, the
variables of each study differ from each other
depending on the concentrated theme. In the
systematic design method, the design process
is mainly in the form of "Analysis, Synthesis,
and Evaluation". In both design and research,
the perspectives of the literature reveal
different views according to the field of use. In
evaluating the various contextual objectives of
the research project, the researcher's questions
inevitably arise. "What is the motivation for
this research?", "Who is the target audience of
the study?" and "What is the potential or
intended impact of this research when
completed?" questions can be taken as
examples (Groat and Wang, 2013). In this
framework, it should be noted that the reason
for choosing "water" as the scope of this study
is to increase the recognition and importance of
water in every stage and scale of our lives and
to include it in the education system. As a
multidisciplinary architecture faculty team that
values its environment and natural resources, it
is imperative to understand the unique needs of
the societies of our age and that we do not
offer the right solutions. Therefore, as a
designer, knowing that our life is highly
dependent on water and giving importance to
water-related works has been our priority
within the scope of this research project.
The education method applied in design
studios has a deep-rooted tradition in
architectural disciplines. Studios, which
provide a platform where students interact with
the instructors, are exemplary in other
disciplines (Boyer and Mitgang, 1996; Kvan
and Jia, 2005). Similarly, in this research-based
design studio, the projects for which the
graduate students created their research
questions under the main title of "Around
Water" were discussed with the lecturer and
other students in each lesson. The process
progressed, and the projects were discussed.
3.2 Online and Multidisciplinary Education
With the appearance of the Covid-19 epidemic
in the recent past, many studies focused on
examining its impacts, consequences, and
confinement periods. This phenomenon
affected education deeply through the schools'
closure. Several studies examine the negative
impact of unusual routine and online learning
on various levels of education. According to
the existing literature, e-learning brought about
psychological issues such as anxiety, tension,
and concerns about future education and
careers, to both teachers and students. Poor
internet connectivity, particularly in digitally
underdeveloped countries, inadequate study
areas at home, lack of face-to-face contact with
classmates and tutors, and consequently low
morale and enjoyment lead to a loss of real-
time transmission of ideas. (Adnan, 2020;
Hasan & Bao, 2020; Toquero, 2020; Vaez
Afshar et al., 2021).
While the issues are comparable to the
previously stated distance learning ones,
Adnan (2020) claims a greater concern for
tactile learners, who are the subject of this
research as art and design students. Despite
their proficiency in using online educational
technology due to the related knowledge they
acquire, thanks to their major, art and design
students confront a variety of problems in their
applied classes (Dilmaç, 2020). According to
the interviews conducted in Dilmaç's (2020)
study, the participants mentioned that these
types of practice courses require face-to-face
practical training with enjoyment and some
apparatus in the sessions that they do not have
at home. Additionally, the Covid-19 period's
anxiety impacted their intention and
inventiveness in creating artworks.
Almost all academic institutions now use video
call sessions on platforms like Zoom, which
are tedious for students to attend. However,
considering classes being held online as a
mandatory consequence of Covid-19 and the
mentioned subsequent issues, the instructors
and students noticed the inevitability of the
situation. Hence, they tried to focus on the
bright sides of widespread e-learning. We let
Journal of
Design Studio
spi:1 “Landscape Research” April 2022
Journal of Design Studio, spi:1
Aytac, G., Aluclu, G., Dalay, L., Afshar, S. V., (2022), Around Water: A Research-Based Landscape Design Studio
students manage the time to avoid the
downsides of a poor internet connection in the
studio. When the students were available and
felt comfortable, the presentations and the
critics were made. In order to just discuss the
students' projects due to lack of face-to-face
meetings, we tried to have various
conversations related to news around the
world. Students were allowed to discuss and
interact to provide a chance for every student
to receive required critiques. Students were
asked to consider their interests each week to
keep studio morale high. The studio allows
students to enjoy their interest topics, which
gives extra motivation to the studio. Despite
turning negative impacts into positive ones, the
online studio was beneficial to invite
international colleagues to the studio. Juries
from La Sapienza University and Columbia
University listened to the students'
presentations and gave valuable critiques to
them. Additionally, watching related videos
during the class was one of the notable
activities leading to interactive conversations
and brainstorming by students on online
whiteboard platforms such as Miro (URL-1).
Most of the time, carrying out a project takes
place with the collaboration of people from
different disciplines on the scale from
implementation to design. When scholars of
various disciplines cooperate to use each
other's tools or knowledge, multidisciplinarity
occurs (Youngblood, 2007). Considering the
students' approaches to dealing with the water
issue, the class had a multidisciplinary theme.
The orientations and productions of this group,
which included students from different
nationalities and disciplines such as
architecture, interior architecture, and
landscape architecture, were also different
from each other. They had technological,
historical, cultural, and educational points of
view for tackling the water issue of the planet.
4. New studio method: “around water”
It is unthinkable for humans to survive without
being around water. They need fresh water to
survive biologically and to maintain their
physical health. Without water, humans can
only survive for a few days. Also, water affects
societies, including setting up their settlements
around the water besides the physical health
dimension. Cities are born, developed, and
collapse around water. Water is one of the
essential elements; it has been the source of
life and civilization throughout history and has
been culturally and geographically influential
on architectural, construction, and management
styles. Systems have been established, and
facilities have been built to deliver water,
which is an important need for living things to
survive, from past to present. Sometimes
artificial, sometimes naturally occurring
waterways told the story of water and the
surrounding lives. Water carried to the cities
by canals and aqueducts came to cisterns to be
stored and reached fountains and pools through
On the other hand, a changing water story has
been shaped differently in every society. Every
life that has developed around water has been
specialized in terms of water use. Each
civilization has developed its own ancestral
water culture collection and uses techniques
considering its nature, land, and climate
variables. Today, because of climate change
and the water shortage crisis, it is first needed
to understand the water ancestral culture. So, in
this studio, we first become testimonies of
water cultures throughout history, from Qanat
systems to aqueducts, stepwells, and cisterns.
Within the scope of this research-based design
studio, the main title of "Around Water" was
adopted, and graduate students traced the story
of water in various parts of the world. The field
of study to be chosen in these projects was left
to the students, and the final output was not
subject to a specific format. While some
students decided on the project area based on
their observations about the water they live in
their hometowns, some focused on areas at risk
of submersion or countries with water access
problems. As the theme selection, while some
projects focused on architectural structures
culturally shaped by water management, such
as stepwells, cisterns, and ports, a more
futuristic perspective was dominant in some
projects. Game design and futuristic
architectural solutions were produced. In
Journal of
Design Studio
spi:1 “Landscape Research” April 2022
Journal of Design Studio, spi:1
Aytac, G., Aluclu, G., Dalay, L., Afshar, S. V., (2022), Around Water: A Research-Based Landscape Design Studio
addition, the scale of the research projects has
varied from the biophilic approach at the
human scale to the mapping of the city and
representation with illustrations.
Furthermore, World Water Day, organized by
the UN with a different theme every year since
1993, has been among the subjects discussed in
the studio, having similar aims. Closely related
to "Around Water", 21 March 2021, World
Water Day was celebrated by sharing a video
work consisting of the visuals describing the
relationship between the selected case studies
and water on the social media account of the
landscape architecture department (Fig. 2).
4.1 Studio Method
The Graduate Project I studio follows a 15-
week, 3-hour-a-day program. During the 15
weeks, students selected a topic under the title
of "Around Water" and chose their case study
area depending on their interests within the
framework of the subject. Students analyzed
the selected case studies in-depth and proposed
a research-based design or planning approach.
Students presented the information they had
gathered every week as part of this process. All
the studio participants were responsible for
stating their critiques to all presentations.
Students participated in three jury sessions and
received required critiques. They submitted a
booklet section at the end of the semester. The
studio calendar was divided into three sections
with three jury days: General research about
water and the case study areas, physical and
non-physical analysis of the areas, and
proposed research design discussions. Each
section contained its own data visualization
techniques. In the end, it has been evaluated
how the case studies can be read through
analysis and how successfully these readings
can be transferred to a planning or design scale
4.1.1 General Research About Water and
the Selected Case Studies
The first four weeks were devoted to the
general research approach. After introducing
the subject in the first week, the "Around
Water" theme was discussed. As a result of the
discussion, one week period was given to the
students to choose a case study in which they
will work on water depending on their
interests.. The information through the water
they gathered was presented to the studio
audience by visualizing with the mapping
techniques which provided significant
contributions to the research-based design
thinking. At the end of the first phase, the
Figure 2: World Water Day 2021 Works of The Studio
Journal of
Design Studio
spi:1 “Landscape Research” April 2022
Journal of Design Studio, spi:1
Aytac, G., Aluclu, G., Dalay, L., Afshar, S. V., (2022), Around Water: A Research-Based Landscape Design Studio
"Around Water" information was transferred to
the first guest jury through visualization
techniques such as mappings, illustrations, or
4.1.2 Physical and Non-physical Analysis of
the Selected Case Studies
After visualizing the decided subject through a
literature review, Figure 3 focused on the case
studies selected from various parts of the
world. Performing the analysis of areas with
different geographies worldwide through water
and sharing it with the studio members
diversified the analysis and enriched the field
reading ability. First of all, searching physical
factors such as climate and landscape
formations and then adding social and cultural
factors such as human relations or education as
layers were essential steps in specifying the
relation of the case study with water.
4.1.3 Proposal Research Design Discussions
Depending on the analysis, each project
developed its own specific proposals. Case
study diversity and students’ multidisciplinary
approach informed projects as varied as a
conservation plan and an educational digital
game. Such diversity enabled projects outputs
discussed by everyone in the studio. In the last
jury, an international guest joined the studio
and gave the students critiques on their
At the end of the three stages, determined at
the beginning of the semester, students
submitted their projects in a booklet format by
converting them into a publishable form, as a
result, developing proposals depending on a
detailed analysis created research projects
around a specific subject and case study that
dealt with the subject of "Around Water" .
5. Results and discussion
Landscape Architecture graduate-level studio,
which took place in the spring term of 2020-
21, was conducted as a research-based project
in line with the education level of the students,
and each of the diversified projects under the
"Around Water" theme offered new discussion
environments. In the studio with
multidisciplinary participation, water, which is
the most significant design and planning
challenge of the 21st century and one of the
most important natural factors to be addressed
against the climate crisis in the 26th COP
agreement, was discussed. The fact that a
specific project area was not given for the
projects carried out within the studio's scope
and that research and project making in any
part of the world was left to the students
resulted in a rich and diverse output.
Figure 3: Case Studies Around the World
Journal of
Design Studio
spi:1 “Landscape Research” April 2022
Journal of Design Studio, spi:1
Aytac, G., Aluclu, G., Dalay, L., Afshar, S. V., (2022), Around Water: A Research-Based Landscape Design Studio
By discussing a multidisciplinary team about
the water topic, multiple layers around the
water were discovered, leading us to the
cumulative knowledge of the studio.
Afterward, the variation of the ideas exchanged
in the class enabled us to become aware of
diverse water issues. While the topic, around
water, limited the scope of the research, it was
enlarged by letting the students select their
approach towards tackling it. Hence, the
students gained research-based design ability
in their graduate-level education. Moreover,
each case study as the studio's output can turn
into academic research.
5.1 Studio Outcomes: Case Studies
5.1.1 Water History Ancient City Miletus in Büyük
Menderes Basin
The story of water begins long before history.
Water shaped the structure of today's cities
thousands of years ago, which is carried to the
present through cultures throughout history.
Reading the water story over Miletus, an
ancient Ionian port city in the Büyük Menderes
Basin (Fig. 4), adds an entirely different aspect
to the landscape. Due to its cultural heritage
value with a substantial historical background,
it is a first-degree archeological site in the
basin. Once a port city in the Aegean Sea,
Miletus has become separated from the sea
more than ever to the point of being inland,
influenced by the meander. Bruckner et al.
define Miletus as "from the archipelago to
flood plain" (2006), which shows its direct
relation to water. The meander is the key to the
morphology of Miletus City, which dates back
to prehistoric times. The meander shaped and
changed the city during its history. The
conservation methods for an ancient city in a
meander basin are investigated within the
scope of landscape change.
Through literature, landscape change is
examined through five concepts concerning
water: time, coastal change, cultures,
architecture, and water technologies. The five
concepts are mapped onto a timeline and
modeled in three-dimensional ways. In the
created timeline, it is seen that before 1500
BC, there was seawater instead of a
meandering riverbed in the Büyük Menderes
Basin. The shoreline was located further in the
eastern part than it appears today. Lake Bafa
was a part of the Aegean Sea. Miletus was an
archipelago. With the formation of a delta in
the Aegean Sea by the alluvium brought by
Figure 4: Büyük Menderes Basin
Journal of
Design Studio
spi:1 “Landscape Research” April 2022
Journal of Design Studio, spi:1
Aytac, G., Aluclu, G., Dalay, L., Afshar, S. V., (2022), Around Water: A Research-Based Landscape Design Studio
meander, the coastline has moved westward
over time. Miletus became a peninsula. In the
Modern Age, Miletus becomes a land not
adjacent to the sea and is surrounded by the
meander. Today, it is under flood risk of the
Menderes River (based on visualizations in the
timeline). Second, the research was about the
existing protection status of the area through
archeological sites, urban sites, natural sites,
significant natural areas, or heritage sites. By
combining landscape change in Miletus City
and Büyük Menderes Basin and existing
protection maps, a conservation master plan
including a protection zone and a buffer zone
is developed for the meander landscape
character atlas. The Management of Water in
Istanbul from the Past to the Present
(Cisterns of Istanbul)
Istanbul is a water city with its Bosphorus,
shores to two seas, streams, fountains, and
spring waters. Within the scope of the class
project, water has been used in many different
ways, both above and underground in Istanbul
City. Plenty of structures have been built for
the use of water in history. Because Istanbul
city hosted many empires, tackling water
management with various methods and history,
this study was first examined water
management from the past to the present. For
instance, cisterns with transmission lines were
designed to store and carry water throughout
the city. Also, with the advancing age and the
historical process, other water structures such
as dams were built around the cisterns to
enable water portability instead of using
cisterns just as storage. In this study, the
definition of cisterns, their distribution
according to periods, typology, and their
current status, are extensively investigated by
predominantly examining the cisterns.
The result section of the research examined the
Byzantine and Roman period cisterns in the
Historical Peninsula in detail. A water source
excursion route was proposed and presented in
the Historical Peninsula in line with the
connections between water resources. This
route, which is created to narrate the link
between water resources and their historical
background, aims to understand and reinvent
the relationship between superstructure and
infrastructure in the city. The route is planned
(Fig. 5) to guide both citizens and tourists in
the context of public, history, architecture, and
tourism. In addition, the study intends to bring
Figure 5: Proposed Map for Cisterns of Istanbul
Journal of
Design Studio
spi:1 “Landscape Research” April 2022
Journal of Design Studio, spi:1
Aytac, G., Aluclu, G., Dalay, L., Afshar, S. V., (2022), Around Water: A Research-Based Landscape Design Studio
new functions to underground structures by
considering their historical identities and
establishing new links between the past and the
future. Water and Its Importance During
History in the Case Study of Iran's Qanat
System and Gardens
According to the undeniable place of water in
human civilization from past to present and in
the future, the project tries to examine the
importance of water in Iranian cities based on
descriptive-analytical methods using historical
library documents. It focuses primarily on its
arid and semi-arid regions, examining the
strong relationship between the shaping of
Persian gardens and water. Finally, it explores
different types of water usage and its function
in gardens named the Qanat system, known as
Iran's cultural heritage nowadays.
Iran is a mountainous, arid, and semi-arid
country. People have tried to find a solution for
the water management issue for a long time.
Consequently, the Qanat system that played a
fundamental role in water management and
shaping Persian gardens in Iran's harsh
environmental conditions is one of the most
important systems invented by Iranians (Fig.
6). Indeed, Qanat is not only a general and
efficient structure for water transfer, but also it
is a water resource for other systems like
cooling systems, water reservoirs, and land
irrigation. When it comes to gardens, water
circulation defines the geometry of the gardens
and their location. Hence, it can be stated that
water has been used for two purposes; While
the first one is functional, the second one is
decorative with various running structures,
such as basins, streams, water creeks, and
fountains. Also, gardens use water with its
multiple aspects such as liveliness, brightness,
cleanliness, light, inertia, and motion, bringing
numerous feelings in the human soul and
enhancing mental comfort (Fekete and Haidari,
The study shows that nowadays, according to
fast urbanization in Iranian cities, the function
of the Qanat system is decreased, and some of
them are destroyed. As a result, the gardens
and green spaces irrigated by Qanat are at risk
of deterioration, and cities face different
problems in water management. All these
problems are ringing alerts for understanding
the importance of water in daily life and
finding ways to manage it before it becomes
much more critical.
Figure 6: Qanat System
Journal of
Design Studio
spi:1 “Landscape Research” April 2022
Journal of Design Studio, spi:1
Aytac, G., Aluclu, G., Dalay, L., Afshar, S. V., (2022), Around Water: A Research-Based Landscape Design Studio
5.1.2 Water-Based Planning Water, Biophilia, and New York City
In metropolitan areas where human density is
high and intense construction, designs should
be made harmonious with nature to ensure
human health and welfare and sustainable
urban infrastructure. The goal of creating cities
with high human density reveals a perspective
that questions the existence of a relationship
with nature in the urban environment. In this
framework, the question arises, "Can a
sustainable and biophilic city that maintains its
connection with nature be created by
designers?" The human need for nature is
inevitable. Connecting with nature in the city is
necessary for societies where human health
and welfare can be achieved.
In this context, New York's city has been
considered one of the cities with the highest
urbanization and dense human population.
Manhattan Island has been determined as the
study area for investigating water management
systems and the city's green infrastructure.
This study aims to relate and explore the
connection between New York, Manhattan
Island, and "water", both as part of nature and
as a system to manage, under the concept of
biophilic design. First, the term biophilia was
introduced to establish the link between them,
and water was emphasized as a design element
in terms of biophilic design. Secondly, current
usage percentages were given to understand
the movement of water. Thirdly, the history of
urbanization of Manhattan Island was
introduced in connection with schemes and
critical historical events. Then, the waterways
and water systems built to bring water to the
city are examined by comparing with green
infrastructure systems and assessing its
biophilic dimension. Another aim of this
research is to trace the link between being in
harmony with water and being a biophilic city.
Water and green infrastructure systems in
Manhattan Island, one of the most extreme
examples of urbanization, are examined under
the title of biophilia to reveal the water
management of this settlement and examine
the efforts to bring people together with nature.
The city's relationship with water at the user
and city-scale could be monitored and
presented by mapping (Fig 7).
Figure 7: Manhattan Island Water-Related Parameters Map
Journal of
Design Studio
spi:1 “Landscape Research” April 2022
Journal of Design Studio, spi:1
Aytac, G., Aluclu, G., Dalay, L., Afshar, S. V., (2022), Around Water: A Research-Based Landscape Design Studio Water Footprint: Burundi, Kirundo
Water, an essential source of life on Earth, is
running out day by day due to human and
natural factors. Although water is a matter of
rights, it cannot be fully applicable worldwide.
Many African countries are dealing with very
long drought seasons, and their infrastructure
systems are not developed due to the lack of
adequate financial support. Even some
countries in Africa do not have an
infrastructure system. That is why people
living in these dry regions have serious
difficulties accessing water and have lost their
fundamental rights. Since life in African
countries is entirely based on water, many
people do not have the right to food, shelter,
washing, and education if there is no water. As
a result, the landscape of one of the African
countries is investigated depending on the lack
of water, which is so significant and not on the
agenda much around the world. Burundi,
which has the world's unhappiest African
countries and the second largest freshwater
resource globally (Assessment, 2007), is
focused on throughout the study. After
investigating water footprints worldwide,
Burundi is analyzed depending on the spatial
access to water. For the Kirundo Region,
where it is found that the access to water is the
most sensitive in the country, spatial water
access scenarios are created. Besides the
scenarios with low cost and low maintenance
requirements, accessible installation structures
that supply water to the city are proposed to
adapt local people to spatial water access.
Kirundo city is the pilot study area for Burundi
(Fig. 8). Decisions made for Kirundo are
transformed into planning strategies applicable
within the entire country of Burundi.
5.1.3 Water-Based Design Su: A Serious Game for Water
Management - Based on Istanbul
Due to the crucial role of clean and fresh water
for the planet and the inhabitants, its lack
impacts their physical, social, and economic
well-being. However, the steadily increasing
urban population growth and their water
demand generate a fateful threat considering
the decay of available water resources (Van
Leeuwen & Sjerps, 2016). As a consequence of
this phenomenon, society may face water
insecurity and fail fulfilling its water need for a
long time. Besides, the aridity of a region
aggravates human condition by endangering
the food resources, natural ecosystem, and
health. Hence, for the sake of the next
Figure 8: Water Footprint, Burundi
Journal of
Design Studio
spi:1 “Landscape Research” April 2022
Journal of Design Studio, spi:1
Aytac, G., Aluclu, G., Dalay, L., Afshar, S. V., (2022), Around Water: A Research-Based Landscape Design Studio
generations' life quality and economic growth,
water management plays a crucial role in
dealing with the water issue (Savun-
Hekimoğlu et al., 2021). Water consumption of
a region includes the used water for any type of
production and its direct use as freshwater.
Hence, production trade amongst countries
enables a virtual water flow, an alternative
solution regarding water scarcity in the arid
regions (Hoekstra & Mekonnen, 2012). This
study aims to deal with Istanbul's water
management issue, a metropolitan city with a
high population growth pace. Istanbul faced
water-related threats during its history (Savun-
Hekimoğlu et al., 2021; Van Leeuwen &
Sjerps, 2016). The most recent drought in 2020
that the city experienced caused an extreme
shrinkage in its reservoirs, falling to almost
only 20% of their capacity (Yılmaz et al.,
Public awareness has a crucial position
regarding the sustainability of ecosystems.
Hence it is vital to inform the citizens of the
possible challenges, specifically from their
early ages (Vaez Afshar et al., 2021).
Additionally, UNESCO (1980) drives the
attention of contemporary literature
encompassing environmental education to
endorse promising approaches towards public
awareness. Educational software, also called
edutainment, a term generated from education
and entertainment, is a digital game designed
for tutoring. It serves academic content to the
user through a digital medium, using
entertainment. These games, also called serious
games, have been attracting players since 2002
(Eshaghi et al., 2021). Thus, this study
introduces a serious game based in Istanbul to
raise the upcoming generations' awareness
concerning water shortage (Fig. 9).
While the scholars focused their studies on the
serious games considering water management
(Morley et al., 2017), the game developed in
this study is explicitly based on Istanbul's
reservoirs and their water level. Also, The
game depicts Istanbul's future while suffering
from a harsh drought (Fig. 10). It asks the
players to survive despite the water shortage
problem, and it demonstrates the effects of
their decisions on the landscape and the
environment. This research was presented at
the SIGraDi 2021 conference (Vaez Afshar et
al., 2021).
A documentary named 25 Liters (Dilara,
2019), cast by National Geographic Turkey,
inspired the narrative of this game. The main
intention of the game is to educate the children
about the concepts of actual and virtual water
usage, its efficient use, and the effect of its
usage pattern on the environment.
Figure 9: Effect of correct answers on the environment in the game
Journal of
Design Studio
spi:1 “Landscape Research” April 2022
Journal of Design Studio, spi:1
Aytac, G., Aluclu, G., Dalay, L., Afshar, S. V., (2022), Around Water: A Research-Based Landscape Design Studio Rising Water Sinking Cities
According to the information obtained from
the "Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC) Report on Oceans and
Cryosphere in Changing Climate" (Pörtner et
al., 2019), climate change causes ocean
temperatures to rise, glaciers to melt, and sea
levels to rise. It is predicted that the methane
gas released into the atmosphere by the
thawing of billions of tons of frozen land will
rise ten times faster than the previous century
by 2100 unless emissions in the world are
reduced within the framework of combating
climate change. As a result of the melting of
the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, more
than 400 billion tons of water is added to the
ocean annually. According to the European
Environment Agency, the sea level has risen
by 3 millimeters every year since 1993. Studies
show that sea level rose 19.5 centimeters in the
last century, and this rise is not a gradual
increase but a rapidly growing graph. How
much water levels will increase after this day
depends on how much we can reduce the
progress of global warming from now on.
As a result of the literature review, the research
focused on the cities expected to be flooded in
Fig. 10 The development process of the game in the platform. Source:
Figure 11: Selection of The Cities
Journal of
Design Studio
spi:1 “Landscape Research” April 2022
Journal of Design Studio, spi:1
Aytac, G., Aluclu, G., Dalay, L., Afshar, S. V., (2022), Around Water: A Research-Based Landscape Design Studio
the future, particularly 11 cities presented in
Figure 12. In this context, why selected cities
were predicted to sink and how they planned to
deal with this situation in the future were
investigated. This project aimed to raise
awareness through dramatic visual information
and projections about the flooded cities. The
project, which tries to reflect excessively what
we would see if the selected cities were
flooded "right now", was aimed to increase the
sensitivity and awareness of the subject by
creating utopian visuals. In this aim, general
topics such as climate change, melting of
glaciers, the collapse of soils were mentioned,
selected cities were researched, and then
utopian underwater projects designed with
future scenarios were examined.
As a result, awareness-raising visuals (Figure
12) were designed by being inspired by the
literature research outputs and the cities'
unique cultural structures and iconic features.
In addition, the geomorphological systems of
two towns, Maldives and Venice, were
examined in detail, and the soil structures,
formations, and geographical features were
supplemented with descriptive visuals.
6. Conclusion
Within the scope of this study, carried out
under the landscape architecture graduate-level
studio of Istanbul Technical University, the
theme "Around Water'' is to increase the
recognition of water in every stage and scale of
our lives and encourage students to conduct
research in this direction. It is precious that
researchers from different disciplines, who
value the environment and natural resources,
aim to protect the environment and natural
heritage, conduct research with social value,
and generate solutions. In this study, designers
aware of social and environmental needs
concentrate on water and production.
Each project produced within the scope of this
studio project has gone through the stages of
identifying environmental problems in the
context of water, researching and delivering
solutions, and creating unique discussion
platforms. Through the projects, how water
was transported and shaped the city in ancient
times was handled through the example of a
city such as Miletus. In contrast, the course
presented and discussed the development of
water management systems over today's
metropolises, such as New York and Istanbul.
When the research subjects are handled
specifically, "water" has been studied
worldwide, from cisterns to sinking cities,
from basins to water footprints, from the value
of holy water to its technological aspect with
game design. In addition, some studies have
Figure 12: Illustrations of The Cities
Journal of
Design Studio
spi:1 “Landscape Research” April 2022
Journal of Design Studio, spi:1
Aytac, G., Aluclu, G., Dalay, L., Afshar, S. V., (2022), Around Water: A Research-Based Landscape Design Studio
been developed from student projects that
started with this studio work, which have been
developed into various international articles
and international book chapters. These studies,
which started and developed with studio work,
reveal successful outcomes from this
discussion, research, and
educational environment.
This paper is created in the scope of Istanbul
Technical University 2020-2021 Spring Term
Graduate Level Project Online Studio:
“Around Water”. We would like to thank all
the participants of the studio: Ali Yusuf
Çizmecioğlu, Çağla Kaplan, Damla Arıkoğlu,
Emine Yüceyurt, Ezgi Terzioğlu, Gizem
Aluçlu, Hüdanur Günaydın, Lâl Dalay, Nasim
Naeimi Shishavan, Nima Sharafi Rohani,
Saadet Gülşah Domurcukgül, Sepehr Vaez
Afshar, Seyyedeh Mahsa Mousavigharalari,
Suna Korkmaz, Zeynep Kaçar.
Adnan, M. (2020). Online learning amid the
COVID-19 pandemic: Students perspectives.
Journal of Pedagogical Research, 1(2), 4551.
Assessment, T. F. (2007). Environmental
Threats and Opportunities Assessment. Group,
Brückner, H., Müllenhoff, M., Gehrels, R.,
Herda, A., Knipping, M., & Vött, A. (2006).
From archipelago to floodplaingeographical
and ecological changes in Miletus and its
environs during the past six millennia (Western
Anatolia, Turkey). Zeitschrift für
Geomorphologie NF, 142(Suppl), 63-83.
Dilara, Z. (Director). (2019). 25 Litre
[Documentary]. National Geographic
Dilmaç, S. (2020). Students' Opinions about
the Distance Education to Art and Design
Courses in the Pandemic Process. World
Journal of Education, 10(3), 113.
Eshaghi, S., & Vaez Afshar, S. & Varinlioglu,
G. (2021). THE SERICUM VIA: A Serious
Game for Preserving Tangible and Intangible
Heritage of Iran. The 9th International
Conference of the Arab Society for Computer-
Aided Architectural Design, 1, 306316.
Fekete, A., & Haidari, R. (2015). Special
aspects of water use in Persian gardens.
Agriculture and Environment, 7, 82-88.
Groat, L. N., & Wang, D. (2013). Architectural
research methods. John Wiley & Sons.
Hasan, N., & Bao, Y. (2020). Impact of "e-
Learning crack-up" perception on
psychological distress among college students
during COVID-19 pandemic: A mediating role
of "fear of academic year loss." Children and
Youth Services Review, 118(July), 105355.
Hoekstra, A. Y., & Mekonnen, M. M. (2012).
The water footprint of humanity. Proceedings
of the national academy of sciences, 109(9),
Kvan, T., & Jia, Y. (2005). Students' learning
styles and their correlation with performance in
architectural design studio. Design Studies,
26(1), 19-34.
Morley, M. S., Khoury, M., & Savić, D. A.
(2017). Serious game approach to water
distribution system design and rehabilitation
problems. Procedia Engineering, 186, 76-83.
Pörtner, H. O., Roberts, D. C., Masson-
Delmotte, V., Zhai, P., Tignor, M.,
Poloczanska, E., & Weyer, N. M. (2019). The
ocean and cryosphere in a changing climate.
IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and
Cryosphere in a Changing Climate.
Savun-Hekimoğlu, B., Erbay, B., Hekimoğlu,
M., & Burak, S. (2021). Evaluation of water
supply alternatives for Istanbul using
forecasting and multi-criteria decision making
methods. Journal of Cleaner Production, 287,
Secretariat, C. C. (2002). A guide to the
climate change convention and its Kyoto
Journal of
Design Studio
spi:1 “Landscape Research” April 2022
Journal of Design Studio, spi:1
Aytac, G., Aluclu, G., Dalay, L., Afshar, S. V., (2022), Around Water: A Research-Based Landscape Design Studio
Protocol. Disponible en la red en la dirección:
http://unfccc. int/resource/guideconvkp-p. pdf.
Toquero, C. M. (2020). Challenges and
Opportunities for Higher Education amid the
COVID-19 Pandemic: The Philippine Context.
Pedagogical Research, 5(4), em0063.
Trochim, W. M., & Donnelly, J. P. (2001).
Research methods knowledge base (Vol. 2).
Atomic Dog Pub.
Unesco. (1980). Environmental education in
the light of the Tbilisi Conference. Unesco.
URL-1: The Visual Collaboration Platform for
Every Team | Miro. (n.d.). Https://Miro.Com/.
Retrieved 28 January, 2022, from
Vaez Afshar, S., Aytaç, G., & Eshaghi, S.
(2021). SU: A Serious Game for Water
Management - Based on Istanbul.
SIGraDi2021 DesigningPossibilities, 1, 523
Vaez Afshar, S., Eshaghi, S., Varinlioglu, G. &
Balaban, Ö. (2021). Evaluation of Learning
Rate in a Serious Game - Based on Anatolian
Cultural Heritage. 39th ECAADe Conference,
2, 273280.
Vaez Afshar, S., & Eshaghi, S. (2021). A
Game-Based Tool for Freshmen Design
Students During the Pandemic Distance
Learning. 4th International Symposium on Art
and Design Education, 1, 7783.
Van Leeuwen, K., & Sjerps, R. (2016).
Istanbul: the challenges of integrated water
resources management in Europa's megacity.
Environment, development and sustainability,
18(1), 1-17.
Yılmaz, F., Yılmaz, İ., & Toros, H. (2020).
İstanbul Baraj Doluluk Oranlarının Zamansal
İncelenmesi ve Çözüm Önerileri. Journal of
Research in Atmospheric Science, 2(2).
Youngblood, D. (2007). Multidisciplinarity,
interdisciplinarity, and bridging disciplines: A
matter of process. Journal of Research
Practice, 3(2), M18-M18.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The emergence of the need for orientation since the past times led the universities to invent innovative ways to prepare their students for the activities and courses they will face. Hence, various types of orientation have been provided during history. However, today with the outbreak of the Covid-19 and the closure of the schools, most of the students are continuing their studies as distance learning. While this situation is very disappointing for all freshmen students who do not know the university's atmosphere, it is extremely disruptive, specifically for the design ones, which are passing tactile courses, demanding being held face to face. This ascertains the research's problem as a need for an interactive solution for the issue to lessen the consequent problems. Game-based orientation (GBO) is a tool, engaging the freshmen students as players with the provided data in it, which are the essentials for a novel student to know before entering the university. It allows the student to be dealt with the school services, Istanbul Technical University in this case, and use them in terms of the game's tasks. The scoring system, the ultimate certificate, the leaderboard leading them to prizes, and the game's non-linearity will attract the students to use GBO frequently to finish it and experience all the possible scenarios.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Cultural heritage conservation has two aspects, tangible and intangible, both of which contribute greatly to the understanding of ancient inheritances. Due to the role of education in the preservation process, and the strength of the new media in the current era, serious games can play a key role in conservancy by transmitting the target culture. There is a gap in the serious game field in relation to Turkey's cultural heritage on the Silk Roads, underlining the motivation of this research. Hence, this study proposes the Anatolian Journey serious game, which is developed in the Twine platform, designed to transmit Turkey's tangible and intangible cultural heritage, providing comprehensive information on the Seljuk caravanserais, located on the Silk Roads. Moreover, the research compares undergraduate and graduate students' gains in knowledge of heritage data while playing a serious game and encountering the same content in text form with an online survey.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Efforts to preserve cultural heritage have continued throughout history, and currently use game technology. Serious games, with their audio-visual features make it possible for players to absorb and retain the often rather arid data of heritage. Furthermore, such technology facilitates the transmission of heritage globally amongst remote people, without the need to commute personally. Exploring the literature, we noted a lack of local game culture in Iran, and in the Middle East more broadly. This region is limited in terms of the existing global game industry, and the introduction of its culture to the world depends on the global market. This ascertains the paper's research problem: the need for more local games in the field to promote local historical culture. Hence, the paper aims to preserve and disseminate the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of its focus area, Iran’s Silk Roads and its caravanserais, by developing and testing a serious game named The Sericum Via. It has a non-linear narrative, engaging the player in a long journey visiting the Safavid caravanserais on the Silk Roads, using their detailed information. The game's text-based and strategic environment demands decision-making skills throughout the game and is challenging enough to make the player revisit the game frequently.
Full-text available
Covid-19 affected higher educational institutions not just in Wuhan, China where the virus originated but all other higher educational institutions in 188 countries as of April 06, 2020. Educational countermeasures are taken to continue educating the students despite the COVID-19 predicaments. Based on the author’s experiences, research, observations in the academe, COVID-19 guidelines, and the need for alternative solutions, this article introduces how higher education is affected and how it can respond to future challenges. This article recommends to educational institutions to produce studies to proliferate and document the impact of the pandemic to the educational system. There is also a greater need for educational institutions to strengthen the practices in the curriculum and make it more responsive to the learning needs of the students even beyond the conventional classrooms.
Full-text available
This paper presents an online, web-based Serious Game developed to investigate end-user behaviour when faced with complex WDS design and rehabilitation problems. SeGWADE (Serious Game for WDS Analysis, Design & Evaluation) couples an innovative and visually attractive interactive front-end with a server-side modelling engine handling real-time hydraulic simulation.
Full-text available
The Persian garden is one of the most characteristic and notable element in the Iranian landscape. Considering Iran’s hot and dry climate along with water deficit for plantation, it becomes noticeable how important the art of making gardens is to Iranians. Water is one of the most crucial elements in the Persian garden, and we can state that gardens would be meaningless without it. Garden applications use water with its various abilities such as life, brightness, cleanliness, light, inertia, and motion, which bring forward numerous feelings in the human soul and enhance mental comfort. Also, its various running structures, such as basins, streams, water creeks, and fountains, provide mental comfort and technical functions.
Water scarcity is one of the most serious problems of the future due to increasing urbanization and water demand. Urban water planners need to balance increasing water demand with water resources that are under increasing pressure due to climate change and water pollution. Decision makers are forced to select the most appropriate water management alternative with respect to multiple, conflicting criteria based on short and long term projections of water demand in the future. In this paper, we consider water management in Istanbul, a megacity with a population of 15 million. Purpose The purpose of this paper is to develop a method combining demand forecasting with multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) methods to evaluate five different water supply alternatives with respect to seven criteria using opinions of experts and stakeholders from different sectors. Methodology To combine forecasting with MCDM, we design a data collection method in which we share our demand forecasts with our experts. For demand forecasting, we compare Holt-Winters, Seasonal Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (S-ARIMA), and feedforward Artificial Neural Network (ANN) models and select S-ARIMA as the best forecasting model for monthly water consumption data. Generated demand projections are shared with experts from different sectors and collected data is evaluated with Fuzzy Theory using two distinct MCDM models: Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) and Preference Ranking Organization Method for Enrichment Evaluations (PROMETHEE). Also our analyses are complemented with two sensitivity analyses. Findings Our results indicate that greywater reuse is the best alternative to satisfy the growing water demand of the city whereas all experts find desalination and inter-basin water transfer as the least attractive solutions. In addition, we adopt the PROMETHEE GDSS procedure to obtain a GAIA plane indicating consensus among experts. Furthermore, we find that our results are moderately sensitive to the number of experts and they are insensitive to changes in experts’ evaluations. Novelty To the best of our knowledge, our study is the first one incorporating water demand and supply management concepts into the evaluation of alternatives. From a methodological perspective, water demand projections have never been used in an MCDM study in the literature. Also, this paper contributes to the literature with a mathematical construction of consensus and Monte Carlo simulations for the sufficiency of experts consulted in a study.
While literature reveals the positive perception of e-Learning, this study examined and assessed the impact of e-Learning crack-up perceptions on psychological distress among college students during COVID-19 pandemic. Kessler psychological distress scale (K10) was used to evaluate stress symptoms. This study first conducted an online focus group discussion (OFGD) with the target population to develop the scale of “e-Learning crack-up” and “fear of academic year loss”. Afterward, a questionnaire was developed based on OFGD findings. An online survey was conducted amongst college students in Bangladesh using a purposive sampling technique. Results show that “e-Learning crack-up” perception has a significant positive impact on student’s psychological distress, and fear of academic year loss is the crucial factor that is responsible for psychological distress during COVID-19 lockdown. This study can provide an understanding of how “e-Learning crack-up” and “Fear of academic year loss” influence college students’ mental health. Theoretically, this study extends and validated the scope of Kessler's psychological distress scale with two new contexts. Practically, this study will help the government and policymakers identify the student's mental well-being and take more appropriate action to address these issues.
This research study examines the attitudes of Pakistani higher education students towards compulsory digital and distance learning university courses amid Coronavirus (COVID-19). Undergraduate and postgraduate were surveyed to find their perspectives about online education in Pakistan. The findings of the study highlighted that online learning cannot produce desired results in underdeveloped countries like Pakistan, where a vast majority of students are unable to access the internet due to technical as well as monetary issues. The lack of face-to-face interaction with the instructor, response time and absence of traditional classroom socialization were among some other issues highlighted by higher education students.
During the past six millennia, the famous ancient harbour city of Miletus and its environs have experienced major changes in palaeogeography and palaeoecology, related to (a) the progradation of the Büyük Menderes river delta, (b) fluctuations of sea level associated with the post-glacial marine transgression, and (c) the permanent impact of humans on the ecosystem since Late Chalcolithic times. In this paper, we present new results of our geoarchaeological research in and around Miletus examining palaeogcographical changes and their relation to human settlement activities over different historical periods. Palaeoecology of both coastal and terrestrial environments were reconstructed by sedimemological, foraminiferal, archaeozoological and palynological criteria. Analyses of sediment cores collected around the Temple of Athena revealed that sea level reached its highest stand during the Early Bronze Age. A similar pattern is evident on the southern fringe of Lion Harbour embayment around the later Sanctuary of Apollo Delphinius, where cultural debris from the Late Chalcolithic period is covered by shallow marine sediments. In the Middle and Late Bronze Ages, the introduction of the goat by the Minoans was a major factor in the progressive degradation of climax vegetation (open deciduous oak forests) which resulted in increased soil erosion and associated sediment accumulation in the coastal zone. These environmental changes, together with the fall in relative sea level, contributed to the rapid transformation of the Milesian archipelago to the Milesian Peninsula during the second millennium BC. In the 6th century BC, the town centre (agora) with the Delphinium and the surrounding areas was extended by man made infill of the southern part of Lion Harbour embayment. Siltation caused by progradation of the Maeander Delta since Roman Imperial times largely infilled the harbours of the city and subsequently integrated the peninsula into the floodplain.