Adaptation to rural transformation
: A place-based investigation into post-earthquake permanent housing projects in Eastern Turkey

  • Didem Yilmaz

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This doctoral study has been established on the question of ‘How has the implementations of post-earthquake reconstruction affected rural communities and changed the built environment of rural eastern Turkey?’ with reference to the socio-economic and physical vulnerability of rural population in the Eastern Anatolian Region. The region has the highest risk of earthquake exposure in the country and the past experiences showed that rural people in the region lack of capacity to cope with the impacts of earthquakes. In consideration of the vulnerable built environment of rural settlements in the region, the state implements housing projects after earthquakes with the aim of providing seismicresistant built environment. However, the projects are standardised and, more importantly, after the delivery of houses, no evaluation is conducted by authorities in terms of learning to what extent people are satisfied and how they recover overall in time. In this regard, this study attempts to address this gap and evaluates housing projects and beneficiaries’ recovery in a timeframe from 1992 to 2012. The projects implemented in the provinces of Erzincan, Erzurum and Van are the case studies in the study region. The data collection consists of 240 questionnaires and 35 interviews conducted with the beneficiaries. A number of demographic, socio-economic and physical indicators are examined through statistical analyses and the interviews are used for verbatim quotations. According to the results, the beneficiaries are overall highly satisfied with the houses. Nevertheless, the strength of satisfaction was measured at the highest for the dwellers in Van and at the lowest for the dwellers in Erzincan, which can be linked to the variety of the house plans implemented in Van. The effect of relocation was rather complex. Most dwellers relocated were more satisfied with the implementations, though they had the highest tendency to leave the houses. Most of the respondents stated that they would alter their houses, as was already seen in the implementations of Erzincan. Some dwellers even stated that they would add an extra floor upon their single storey post-earthquake permanent houses. The repayment model of house-loan is also not appropriate for beneficiaries since most do not have regular income, as the interviewees emphasised. With regard to livelihood, the results displayed that rural people in the region are becoming less agriculture-dependent and more interested in jobs with regular income and insurance.
Date of AwardJul 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsTurkish Ministry of National Education & Turkish Council of Higher Education
SupervisorGul Kacmaz Erk (Supervisor)

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