Changing space experiences in Istanbul: public places and everyday life


Contemporary Urban Issues: Rethinking the Urban Issues Conference - 1, İstanbul, Turkey, 1 - 04 November 2013, vol.1, no.1, pp.41-48

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 1
  • City: İstanbul
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.41-48
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


We are passing through times of sudden changes in everyday life experiences in Istanbul. An amazing one is for defending of a world famous public place Taksim Square, Gezi Park. Public places as other places of the city change so quickly and turn to be either part of gated private areas or consumer society, or else became blighted/distress areas so we are losing our common living areas along with the feeling of collective lives, solidarity and social memory. We may discuss that they are not disappearing as such but are reshaped in different forms, scales and purposes. Istanbul has always been changing in its modern history but during AKP governments since 2002 with the application of neo-liberal policies and with the winds of globalization there are manifest sudden changes and clashes as well as the gradual transformations. The city is losing its working class neighborhoods and urban culture in hand with the introduction of pragmatic and casual construction projects having no connection with the urban culture and interrelated with the urban structures, creating islands with the loss of the center as in the case of Taksim Square. We are losing our ‘right to the city’ as the urban space changes through intervention of new pragmatic urban ideals of capital, where we are either made believed or displaced by force.

We individuate spaces as Simmel says but in contemporary urban context, the rhythm of life and how it flows change in time and in different corners of metropolis, Istanbul. Spatiality effects the existence and the perception. In a metropolis we live in a corner of our own, where daily life experiences are still of importance. We follow same routes from home to work as Kavafis stated once. There are certain breaking points in our ordinary daily lives; whereas cities have certain junctions, points of intersection, carrefours where we pass and meet each other every day as ordinary inhabitants using urban space. In this paper I like to discuss urban space is both deteriorate in new places and in the old, depression areas. In old and new neighborhoods people are losing the feeling of solidarity and alignment with new social experiences in urban context.