Interrelation between inclusivity of public spaces and social cohesion: Metamorphosis of a historical park in Ankara, Turkey

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Public spaces with different degrees of inclusiveness and exclusiveness are critical in both attaining and sustaining social cohesion between diverse groups, thus achieving coherent community life from neighborhood to city scale. This paper aims to examine the notion of social cohesion through the lens of the inclusivity of public spaces. Providing a model for the qualitative assessment of the inclusivity/exclusivity of public spaces, this research assesses the largest historic park in Ankara, Gençlik Park. It studies the metamorphosis of this park from its heyday to 2018 regarding the four dimensions of access in relation with design, management, control and use processes, as well as the contextual aspect of the inclusivity-exclusivity continuum of public-private spaces. It argues that the inclusive nature of public spaces evolves over time along with the local and global contexts within which the public space is set and bounded. Revealing multiple, site-specific and interrelated driving forces behind the inclusivity of the public space, it shows how the original design of the park has been modified, and how this affected the inclusivity of the park, and the social cohesion in the city.
public space, social cohesion, inclusivity, Ankara