IEP's Jenny Rowan: Putting Historic Preservation Planning at the Heart of US-Turkish Heritage Collaboration

By Jenny Reddan, Cornell University, Masters Candidate – Historic Preservation Planning 
Yeşilyurt (Büyük Çetmi) is located on the western end of Mount Ida in northwest Turkey. This area of Turkey was a transition region that had influences from Persians, Romans, Greeks, and Lycians. Büyük Çetmi was settled in 1355. The vernacular style in the village pulls influences from Greek and Turkish vernacular housing. In 1969 Büyük Çetmi changed its name to Yeşilyurt.
This settlement is a popular vacation destination due to its ideal location and picturesque historic buildings. New construction mocks the vernacular. Over 15 hotels and over two dozen vacation homes have recently been constructed. This movement has driven out locals and is transforming the makeup of Yeşilyurt.
My visit to Yeşilyurt includes the documentation of the village mosque built in 1700. Located in the village center, the mosque influences community daily life. Documentation plans will assist future preservation initiatives, maintenance, and provide an example of the local vernacular style.
I will also provide a report of the changing demographic, economy, and influence of new construction. These reports will help Yeşilyurt maintain its quaint character and support a sustainable future plan for healthy development.

Turkey’s incomparable built heritage has made it a source of innovation and interests for historic preservationists from across the globe.  In 2016, Turkey will host both the 40th meeting of the World Heritage Committee and the ICOMOS 2016 General Assemblies and Advisory Committee meeting. The latter is being accompanied by the 2016 ICOMOS Advisory Committee Symposium on the theme ‘Post-Disaster Reconstruction.’

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As an experienced city planner and preservationist now pursuing a Masters in Historic Preservation Planning at Cornell University, Jenny Rowan brings a unique mix of experiences to the IEP program. As planner with the City of Pittsburg, Texas, Jenny implemented development plans with local businesses through the local high school and community college, created grant and loan programs for preservation in the City National Register district, created ordinances to assist healthy development downtown, implemented an overlay design district, assisted in a creating a new GIS database, and developed an annexation plan.
Now Jenny hopes to put her experience in urban and rural communities to protecting historic sites across the world. In her IEP application, she wrote:

I would be honored to work for an organization that stands for global economic and community development in cultural preservation.

Jenny’s opportunity to pursue her international interests comes with the help of her IEP host, Istanbul’s Yildiz Technical University Faculty of Architecture. The School boasts departments of Architecture and City & Region Planning for undergraduate program and graduate programs of Computer Aided Design Unit, Building Research and Programming, Architectural Design, History and Theory of Architecture, Restoration, Construction, Building Physics, Urban Preservation and Planning, Urban Organization and Design, Urban Regeneration and Planning, Landscape Planning, City and Regional Planning.
US/ICOMOS has a long history of collaboration with ICOMPS Turkey and the Turkish cultural heritage community; a tradition epitomized by Dr. Zeynep Gül Ünal who served as a US/ICOMOS Intern to Washington D.C. in 1994 and is now both the Secretary-General of ICOMOS Turkey and an associate professor in Yildiz’s Restoration Department.

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