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A B S T R A C T This article aims at following the traces of the transformation of public sphere in Turkey through its manifestations on urban public spaces with the case study of Taksim Square. In this attempt, the article illustrates how Taksim square, as a public space, has been shaped by struggles between different ideologies, discourses, political decisions and daily activities taking place at personal, interpersonal, local, national, supranational and global scales. Through this way this article also aims at understanding how these contestations at different scales are affecting people, individually and collectively, from daily life practices to political integration. The article also discusses that our daily life practices and preferences are political decisions and our participation in public sphere occurs through those daily actions of the personal spheres. Therefore, the article suggests that a paradigm shift is needed in the design and production of the built environments that will facilitate the coexistence of multiple counter publics.

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The Scale of Public Space: Taksim Square in Istanbul Dr.SenemZeybekoglu Sadri * Department of Architecture, Girne American University, Turkey A B S T R A C T This article aims at following the traces of the transformation of public sphere in Turkey through its manifestations on urban public spaces with the case study of Taksim Square. In this attempt, the article illustrates how Taksim square, as a public space, has been shaped by struggles between different ideologies, discourses, political decisions and daily activities taking place at personal, interpersonal, local, national, supranational and global scales. Through this way this article also aims at understanding how these contestations at different scales are affecting people, individually and collectively, from daily life practices to political integration. The article also discusses that our daily life practices and preferences are political decisions and our participation in public sphere occurs through those daily actions of the personal spheres. Therefore, the article suggests that a paradigm shift is needed in the design and production of the built environments that will facilitate the coexistence of multiple counter publics. CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS (2017) 1(1), 67-75. https://doi.org/10.25034/1761.1(1)67-75 www.ijcua.com Copyright © 2017 Contemporary Urban Affairs. All rights reserved. 1. Introduction Today the role of public spaces in the exchange of ideas and creation of public opinion has started to be discussed extensively. Public spaces such as Tahrir Square in Egypt, Sintagma Square in Greece, the buffer Zone in Cyprus, or the Azadi Square in Tehran have more than what they occupy as physical spaces. Images reflecting those huge urban areas with millions of people inside are circulating all over the world through news agencies or social media, as the messengers of new social orders or new regimes. Those images help to create and sustain a feeling of strong resistance and solidarity through the representation of the materialization of political ideas with real people and real places in them. Although it is impossible to deny the importance of internet and social media in the formation of public opinion, organization of protests and demonstrations, and circulation of news and information, the need for the physicality of place (a public space), and the power of thousands of people interwoven together occupying that space cannot be ignored. In the end, all those images shared in digital media illustrate real people and real places (Parkinson, 2012). These political activisms on urban spaces are becoming visible by the help of internet, and media at a global scale. They illustrate the collective resistance of certain people at certain locations, which might have global impacts at other localities. Although they do not represent the “ideal speech condition” that Habermas suggests as the rule of public sphere they are probably the utmost reflections of public opinion (Habermas, Lenox, & Lenox, 1974). And again, in contrast with Habermasian ideal of public sphere, which is related with public opinion and manifested in language, these activisms are highly visible through their existence on urban spaces (Parkinson, 2012). As much as the spatiality of public spaces, the scale issue is also important because the physical public space is being shaped as a result of struggles between different ideologies, discourses, political decisions and daily activities taking place at personal, interpersonal, local, national, supranational and global scales. Therefore, these contestations at different scales are blurring established definitions of normative public sphere, and defining new and alternative spheres of public expression in several forms, ranging from performing daily life activities to participating in political life in passive and active ways. These alternative spheres of public expression, formed at the intersections of different scalar relations of public life create what Nancy Fraser calls “subaltern counterpublic” (Fraser, 1990). Having the idea that public spaces constitute an indispensable part of public life, and play an important role in the formation of public opinion, this article aims at following the traces of the transformation of public sphere in Turkey through its manifestations on urban public spaces with the case study of Taksim Square in Istanbul. In this attempt, the article tries to understand the changing meanings attached to the square as a major public space, not only at urban scale but also at personal, interpersonal, national and global scales. Therefore, the article looks at the ways how the square has been formed, used, transformed and appropriated by different ideologies, discourses, political decisions and daily life activities of different groups. It also looks at the ways how political and ideological pressures are materialized at urban spaces and how these materializations are being contested through different forms of public expressions ranging from collective protests to daily life activities and preferences in the use of urban space. The article aims to understand whether or not these contestations open the way for new forms of public spheres, which might be called as multiple counter-publics with reference to Nancy Fraser, and whether or not the physicality of the urban space in terms of inscription of meanings and transformation of those meanings through appropriation of the space, has impacts on this formation of new types of public spheres.

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The Scale of Public Space: Taksim Square in Istanbul Dr.SenemZeybekoglu Sadri * Department of Architecture, Girne American University, Turkey A B S T R A C T This article aims at following the traces of the transformation of public sphere in Turkey through its manifestations on urban public spaces with the case study of Taksim Square. In this attempt, the article illustrates how Taksim square, as a public space, has been shaped by struggles between different ideologies, discourses, political decisions and daily activities taking place at personal, interpersonal, local, national, supranational and global scales. Through this way this article also aims at understanding how these contestations at different scales are affecting people, individually and collectively, from daily life practices to political integration. The article also discusses that our daily life practices and preferences are political decisions and our participation in public sphere occurs through those daily actions of the personal spheres. Therefore, the article suggests that a paradigm shift is needed in the design and production of the built environments that will facilitate the coexistence of multiple counter publics. CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS (2017) 1(1), 67-75. https://doi.org/10.25034/1761.1(1)67-75 www.ijcua.com Copyright © 2017 Contemporary Urban Affairs. All rights reserved. 1. Introduction Today the role of public spaces in the exchange of ideas and creation of public opinion has started to be discussed extensively. Public spaces such as Tahrir Square in Egypt, Sintagma Square in Greece, the buffer Zone in Cyprus, or the Azadi Square in Tehran have more than what they occupy as physical spaces. Images reflecting those huge urban areas with millions of people inside are circulating all over the world through news agencies or social media, as the messengers of new social orders or new regimes. Those images help to create and sustain a feeling of strong resistance and solidarity through the representation of the materialization of political ideas with real people and real places in them. Although it is impossible to deny the importance of internet and social media in the formation of public opinion, organization of protests and demonstrations, and circulation of news and information, the need for the physicality of place (a public space), and the power of thousands of people interwoven together occupying that space cannot be ignored. In the end, all those images shared in digital media illustrate real people and real places (Parkinson, 2012). These political activisms on urban spaces are becoming visible by the help of internet, and media at a global scale. They illustrate the collective resistance of certain people at certain locations, which might have global impacts at other localities. Although they do not represent the “ideal speech condition” that Habermas suggests as the rule of public sphere they are probably the utmost reflections of public opinion (Habermas, Lenox, & Lenox, 1974). And again, in contrast with Habermasian ideal of public sphere, which is related with public opinion and manifested in language, these activisms are highly visible through their existence on urban spaces (Parkinson, 2012). As much as the spatiality of public spaces, the scale issue is also important because the physical public space is being shaped as a result of struggles between different ideologies, discourses, political decisions and daily activities taking place at personal, interpersonal, local, national, supranational and global scales. Therefore, these contestations at different scales are blurring established definitions of normative public sphere, and defining new and alternative spheres of public expression in several forms, ranging from performing daily life activities to participating in political life in passive and active ways. These alternative spheres of public expression, formed at the intersections of different scalar relations of public life create what Nancy Fraser calls “subaltern counterpublic” (Fraser, 1990). Having the idea that public spaces constitute an indispensable part of public life, and play an important role in the formation of public opinion, this article aims at following the traces of the transformation of public sphere in Turkey through its manifestations on urban public spaces with the case study of Taksim Square in Istanbul. In this attempt, the article tries to understand the changing meanings attached to the square as a major public space, not only at urban scale but also at personal, interpersonal, national and global scales. Therefore, the article looks at the ways how the square has been formed, used, transformed and appropriated by different ideologies, discourses, political decisions and daily life activities of different groups. It also looks at the ways how political and ideological pressures are materialized at urban spaces and how these materializations are being contested through different forms of public expressions ranging from collective protests to daily life activities and preferences in the use of urban space. The article aims to understand whether or not these contestations open the way for new forms of public spheres, which might be called as multiple counter-publics with reference to Nancy Fraser, and whether or not the physicality of the urban space in terms of inscription of meanings and transformation of those meanings through appropriation of the space, has impacts on this formation of new types of public spheres.

Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs
Girne American University

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