Spatial Character Analysis of Streets as Public Spaces: The Case of Izmit Hurriyet and Cumhuriyet Street, Turkey

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ÖZBAYRAKTAR M., Pekdemir M., Mirzaliyeva G.

World Multidisciplinary Civil Engineering-Architecture-Urban Planning Symposium (WMCAUS), Prague, Czech Republic, 12 - 16 June 2017, vol.245 identifier identifier


The word "public" was first used to refer to the theatre audience in France in the mid-17th century. In the 18th century, it turned into the meaning of "public space incorporating a large variety of people and composed of acquaintances and strangers". The concepts of publicity, public space, and public realm have been studied and described by many researchers in the course of time. These descriptions show the development of public space as well. In the very general sense, public spaces are areas of personal and social happiness; collective living spaces of the society; areas of expression of natural and cultural variety; and key elements providing a ground for the establishment of an identity. In the United Nations' report on public spaces, public space is addressed under six groups: 1. The spaces we intensely used in our daily life; 2. Green open public spaces; 3. Public activity spaces which users can go in without any difficulty, are open to public, and are under protection; 4. Public sector realm (social agreements in which the people are represented, contribute to collective goods, and trust in the administrators elected); 5. City as a public space; 6. Cyberspace. As cities grow, public spaces transform and diversify. Attempts are made to meet the changing needs through types of space developed. However, the character of the existing public spaces, the distribution of open spaces and parks and their inadequacy, the destruction of public space, and the things that are required to be done stand as important issues to be addressed. One of the public spaces going through transformation are streets which we intensely use in our daily life. In general, streets are defined as roads with buildings on both sides in settlements such as provinces and districts whose boundaries are determined by neighbouring buildings. Some researchers have defined streets based on their social functions. According to them, streets are meeting spaces; spaces to deal with strangers; the house of the society; the main elements of urban existence; spaces as changeable as life; symbolic models of urban problems; and symbols of free city. However, the role of streets, which are so important in our daily life, has only been reduced to pass. They have been divided into two between pedestrians and vehicles and lost many social functions of theirs. Accordingly, the present study aims to answer the question of whether the abovementioned features and characters of streets as public spaces are still maintained with special reference to a street, which is one of the main streets of Izmit, Turkey. The street, which was called Imre Tokeli Avenue, Hamidiye Street (1908), and Demiryolu Tekeli Street (1948) in the course of time, is currently called Hurriyet and Cumhuriyet Street. The people also call it "walking road". According to the sources, the history of this street is the history of Izmit as well. The past and present spatial character of the study area will be revealed through archive reviews, city development plants, face-to-face interviews, and surveys. Problems will be determined, and recommendations will be developed.