Spatial-making of urban populism: The case of post-gezi Taksim

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2023-08
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Batuman, Bülent
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Bilkent University
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English
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Abstract

This thesis explores public participation in the production of space through the recent history of Taksim Square, analyzing the “Taksim Square Urban Design Competition” (2020) and the structure “Kavuşma Durağı” (2020). The thesis refers to Chantal Mouffe’s discussions on the democratic possibilities of populism (left populist strategy) and examines the role of left “urban” populism in repairing democratic values. Asking the question, “What kind of a role can space design play in contributing to democratic urban politics?” the study addresses design competitions with voting systems through discussions about public participation. Linking the recent participatory design attempts with Gezi Protests, the thesis reframes the production of “public space” through “urban populism” in the Turkish context. As examples of left urban populism, those space-making initiations mediate the repair of democracy by improving public contestation and dissensus concepts in the urban sphere and discursive space, and they provide re-politicization of governance and citizens.

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