A design for Riva – like that of any city – must harmonize desire, context, and
constraint. Physically, the site is blessed by its dramatic proximity to the Black
Sea, by rolling hills, by a sinuous river, by green fields and forests, by intimate
beaches, by an existing town of intimate informality, by a protected forest buffer,
and by its easy proximity to Istanbul.
It is, however, challenged by salt winds, demanding topography, by the risk of
becoming a mere commuter dormitory, by existing plans and infrastructures, and
by a pattern of land holdings and regulations that demand what may be a too even
distribution of building across the site. Riva is no tabula rasa and our approach is
shaped by a set of prior decisions we might not have made. For example, were
there an effective way of consolidating and transferring development rights, it
would be possible to create a much more compact city, one less challenged by
low densities and sprawl.