Coexistence in Space: Stimulating Encounter in the Socially Fragmented Open Urban Fabrics

Ebru Sevik, Olgu Caliskan

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As one of the most problematic issues in urban societies exhibiting prejudiced cultural plurality, social distancing manifests itself as a form of spatial segregation even within an open urban fabric that does not have physical boundaries. Rather than addressing the achievement of full social integration at the risk of eliminating the richness of local identities, the interactional approach acknowledges the value of intersubjective encounters in the urban space. In this regard, the emerging studies of 'encounter' aim to explore the capacity of social interaction to build mutual learning and solidarity within diff erent socio-cultural groups, even at the risk of con flict. With the fundamental assumption of the social encounter that occurs through particular (spatial and programmatic) conditions within the physical fabric, the paper explores the morphological capacity of the built form to enable the coexistence of diff erences by stimulating encounters. Following a comprehensive review of the literature on the issue, we suggest a multi-scalar approach that involves the macromorphological perspective of spatial con figuration and the micro characteristics of the small public spaces (the so-called 'micropublics'). Accordingly, the paper revisits the notion of 'threshold' as the place of encounter within the city's social fabric. To reveal the interactional capacity of a socially segregated (open) urban fabric for a high possibility of encounters, the paper focuses on the case of the Emek District in Bursa, Turkey, a living fabric composed of divided socio-spatial territories. Following the con figurational analysis of the district, the paper explores some micro-spatial con figurations as thresholds at the street, block, plot, and building levels. Providing a morphological perspective on coexistence within the fragmented social fabric of the city, the research aims to contribute to the extant discussions on liveability from the perspective of interaction and cohesion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-392
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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