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Istanbul : an urban panopticon

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2008
Özden, Özge
In the twenty-first century that we are living, most of the contemporary metropolises are under constant visual electronic surveillance under the name of security and public safety. Istanbul as being one of the big cities has joined this surveilled metropolises; its streets and public spaces are under constant watch by the invisible watchers behind the MOBESE cameras. The way that the system works on how to impose power on the citizens with the constant observation has it roots in the design principle of Panopticon that Jeremy Bentham created long time ago. Today, Bentham’s eighteenth century design Panopticon has dispersed and merged into the urban scale and replaced by these surveillance cameras. The observation tower and the guardian in panopticon have transformed into the main control room and the cameras. Citizens in Istanbul are under a panoptic power of surveillance. Ordinary citizen is being watched by the invisible guardians behind the cameras. The ones behind the cameras constantly see everything, but never seen by the citizens. This thesis attempts to discuss this assumption of Istanbul becoming an urban panopticon and its affects on the physical layout together with the social aspect of it in Istanbul. One of the main objectives is to investigate the consequences of this visual surveillance on the way that the public life and public spaces of Istanbul is affected.