"Publicness" of the seafront within recent urban inequalities in Izmir (Turkey)

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Based on my user survey, this research discusses how users of a main promenade/seafront in Izmir (a metropolitan city, Turkey) negotiate for this promenade’s “publicness.” It attempts to relate such negotiations to polarized discussions about urban public life and inequalities in Turkey, at which imaginations of Izmir play a significant role since 2000s. Izmir has a high rate of immigration since the 1990s especially with Kurdish people and other groups from Turkey’s urban and rural areas. Given Izmir’s Mediterranean climate, this promenade is widely used, although the activity areas are limited to a walkway. Interestingly, this promenade is attached to relatively better-off central and coastal neighbourhoods with long time dwellers but also has easy access for those neighbourhoods on the hills with middle and low income residents, including recent migrants. Yet survey results tell that this seafront is primarily used by those living in coastal and nearby neighbourhoods and has evolved mostly as “a kind of communal” public space of a “decent district”—Goztepe, which is known as representing the “modern” life style. Surveys are analysed to see whether and to what degree the users negotiate the “publicness” of this seafront, given the users’ socio-economic and demographic characteristics, habits of using urban public spaces, the quality of their neighbourhood life and the physical conditions of users’ dwelling. The results suggest that especially the site design favours middle-age working people over older people, children, women, teenagers and those who want to socialize.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
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