Way Out from the Urban Stress to A Happy City (2019)


The project was inspired by a quote by the Colombian politician Enrique Penalosa. He once said that urban design should be used to make people happier. This made me criticize the current urban designs and think about the stress and unhappiness they create rather than making us happy. The reason why I wanted to work on this topic was because I also come from a big city in Turkey, which is Istanbul. And with a big city there comes the stress of urban living, that I personally have experienced and observed the people around me struggle with it. This was my journey from the urban stress to a happy city.

Way Out from the Urban Stress to a Happy City

Urban Stress Initial Research

Repetitiveness of City Life

After a great amount of research, I thought about what makes me really unhappy about the urban system that I live in. It was the monotony and the repetitiveness of the city life. I realised there is not much that I do other than waking up at 8.15 am every morning, taking the bus 254 every day to go to the university, taking the 254 again to come back home and this on repeat. I came to the conclusion that for me the repetitiveness was the biggest impediment concerning a happy life. And because it was the biggest obstacle, I decided to centre my extensive research mainly on the idea of repetition.

Urban Stress Initial Research

NYC Subway, Bruce Davidson, 1980

For my secondary research I used photos of photographers and urban design artists and built them up by collaging them with my primary research – the pictures that I have taken myself and with related drawings. Firstly, I worked on a photo that the photographer Bruce Davidson took in a NYC subway in 1980.

Arm Pattern

With Photoshop I then used the mirroring effects and repeated the picture to create a very unique pattern specially designed for my own collection.

Colour Test

Colour Test

Arm Pattern in Colour

I experimented with different colour combinations for this pattern.

Feeling Lonely in a Crowd

Life is a filmstrip, not a snapshot.

Laurence MacNaughton

Research Page, Max Cavallari

Houndstooth Check

I then repeated the shape of the hand, that in the end reminded me of the very well-known houndstooth check pattern, which ended up being the second pattern that I used in my final line-up.

Living Exercises, Ryan Brennan

Another very important research for my final line-up was a photo from Ryan Brennan’s Living Exercises collection. I thought isolation and loneliness was another obstacle for people to be happy in an urban city. Brennan has created posters for street walls that encourage people to socialize. In the picture that I used, you can see a poster with two hand prints on it saying “Place your hand here. Have stranger place hand here. Remove hands when no longer strangers.”

Shape Ideas from the Streets

3D Experiment

Lastly, while looking at yellow urban design ideas – because yellow is the colour of happiness – I came across the holiday installation designed by Studio Cadena and experimented the repetition of circles similar to Studio Cadena’s work on a piece of fabric.

Design Development

Design Development

Final Line-Up

For the final line-up I created 5 outfits consisting of 2 shirts, 1 sweater, 1 blouse, 1 dress, 3 trousers, 1 skirt, 1 jacket and lastly a belt bag. My colour palette was created of 4 different pictures from the city surroundings. I used the houndstooth check pattern and also the pattern that I created in 2 different colour combinations. It was really important that every outfit had at least one piece coloured in yellow to symbolize the happiness. The cut-out circles being used in each outfit was symbolizing the repetitiveness. I called my final collection “The Repetitive Happiness”, to once again sum up everything that I mentioned in my project.

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