The Power of the Public in Remaking the Space: Reflections from Istanbul’s Gezi


The public space is the legitimate platform to present power - the ability to make a difference in the world; thus the paper attempts to question the power of public in remaking the urban space through the reflections from Istanbul’s Gezi Park. Gezi Park is located within the boundaries of Taksim, which is the cultural and economic heart of Istanbul and the symbolic arena for republican state and democracy. Radical changes have been observed in the region since the 2000s including commercialisation via shopping malls, gentrification in the near surrounding, and pedestrianisation of Taksim Square and reconstruction decision for the Topcu Military Barrack replacing park. These interventions have recalled a significant ideological intervention to transform this unique public space in accordance with the politics of the state. Occupy Gezi Movement in May 2013, though, has made Gezi Park not only a symbol for state-driven authoritarian initiatives in the urban landscapes of Turkey, but also a role-model for for inclusive urbanity based on community empowerment. Regarding this unique case study, the results of the paper hopes to present the use of power in the reproduction of space and the implications of the discovery of the power of space by highlighting the need for a transition from the old role of public space as a set format of the state towards rethinking the public space as the representation space of right to the city in resolving the conflicts between different power relations engaged in the reproduction of urban space.

Author Information
Zeynep Gunay, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2015
Stream: Humanities - Aesthetics

This paper is part of the ACAH2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon