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Keywords:

  • environmental impacts;
  • Bosporus bridges;
  • transportation;
  • geographic information system;
  • remote sensing;
  • Istanbul;
  • Turkey

ABSTRACT

Istanbul, one of the largest metropolitan cities in the world, experienced rapid industrialization and urbanization in the second-half of the 20th century. The City grew at an average annual growth rate of 4.5 per cent between 1950 and 2000. Growth of settlements and the transportation system have damaged the natural environment. Istanbul is located on both sides of the Bosporus Strait that divides Europe from Asia. Recently an alternative to the planned third bridge for the Istanbul metropolitan area has been selected. The transportation infrastructure which has been constructed has drastically changed the land use profile and caused negative impacts on the environment. The proposed third bridge route threatens agricultural areas, forests, waterbodies and water collection areas that form the open-space systems of Istanbul.

The aim of this study was to analyse the effects of existing Bosporus bridges on the spatial development and the natural resources of the metropolitan area of Istanbul. With the new transportation axis focused on the bridge route, the potential impacts on vital open spaces such as the northern forest regions, the existing agricultural lands and the waterbodies and catchments are evaluated. These changes are explored using a geographical information system and five sets of Landsat satellite images from 1975, 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2005. This should provide a better understanding of the main reasons for the effects and will support city administrators planning similar projects. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.