- Transformation of urban Public Space in reinventing local Identity    click here to open paper content513 kb
by    Taskin, Özlem & Güçer, Evrim & Kompil, Esin Ince , Can, Isin, Durmaz, Bahar | ozlemtaskin@iyte.edu.tr   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
This paper investigates the transformation of public spaces in İzmir in order to compete within globalization processes. We evaluate Konak square and Pier, two ambitious regeneration projects, and the city’s attempt to reinvent its identity.
Transformation of urban Public Space in reinventing local Identity

This paper focuses on the implications of the transformation of public space under the processes activated by globalization. City governments attempt to reconstruct city images in order to become competitive and to take place within the global economical market. In this process, strategies of regeneration for urban public spaces become catalysts of image reconstruction and local economic development.

In this context, actors of urban development in Izmir, the third most-populated city of Turkey on the west coast, have been in search for the most appropriate vision. Due to its local resources, Izmir has been envisioned as tourist city, congress city, culture city, and trade city. While the search continues, several regeneration projects have been developed by the municipality to reconstruct the city’s image which “reinvents” local identity by reclaiming its underinvested spatial inheritance. These regeneration projects aim to incorporate the traces of Hellenistic and Ottoman heritage; such as the Agora, the Theatre, the Stadium, the old castle (Kadifekale), the historic center (Kemeraltı), the historic city square (Konak Square), and the 19th century fish market (Konak Pier).

The regeneration of Izmir’s historical heritage is one more attempt to strengthen its identity and to become “distinctive,” among homogenized and standardized cities in the global market. However, the detailed analysis of two implemented regeneration projects—that of Konak Square and Konak Pier—raise questions on distinctiveness and its implications on the transformation of urban public spaces. These cases share characteristics such as (1) constituting city identity, (2) representing the traces of history, (3) and revealing relations between urban space and the citizens. Hence both have a significant impact on the citizens’ collective memory. We analyze the regeneration processes and outcomes of both cases with reference to stakeholders, underlying motivations, access and publicness of the consequent urban spaces. While Konak Square is redesigned as the central public space that is open to all citizens without distinction, the design of Konak Pier has transformed the historic fish market into a luxury consumer paradise which attracts only the affluent.
public space, city identity, regeneration, transformation,urban vision, globalization, Konak Pier, Konak Square, İzmir, urban government
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