Adaptation of Residential Interiors for Low and Middle-Income Syrians Living in Sultanbeyli, Turkey



Millions of Syrians have fled to Turkey since March 2011 due to the civil war in Syria. To facilitate coexistence and harmony between Syrian refugees living in Turkey and local inhabitants within the existing built environment, this study focuses on Syrians’ housing problem from the viewpoint of interior design/architecture. The purpose of the study is to develop a framework for adapting residential interiors appropriate to Syrian refugees’ needs. The proposed framework is based on determining housing and interior design principles and sub-principles and explaining them using a set of indicators. This study is a case study. The field study was conducted with the voluntary participation of Syrian families in their residences in the Fatih neighborhood in Sultanbeyli in Istanbul. Besides the literature review, the data were obtained through visual and ethnographic methods. The data were then analyzed using annotated diagrams for visual and observation-based data, content analysis for interviews questions. Thus, holistic information on Syrians and their culture, housing needs, and homemaking practices were acquired. Spatial and object-based adaptations are essential for Syrians’ lifestyles, privacy, and appropriation needs. Flexible and affordable adaptations are also required for their living habits and income limitations in terms of their residential interiors. The study provides a framework for designers, researchers, and policymakers for adapting housing and interior environments in compliance with users’ needs, specifically Syrian refugees and for achieving economically, culturally, socially, and physically supportive housing environments. Additionally, the study will promote future research studies.

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