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Consolidating the image of the city : mobile phones and new identities

Şentürk, Meltem
The aim of this thesis is to examine the affects of mobile communication practices on urban public places, particularly on meeting places in urban space. The contribution of mobile communication technologies into daily practices and rapid penetration of them into everyday-life is quite obvious in the last decade. The inevitable presence of mobile phones in everyday-life practices encourages urban researchers to consider their impacts on urban social context and consequently on urban public places. The objective of the research is to understand the incompatibility between the existing urban image and the mental image of mobile society. Mobile phones enable people to organize meetings independent from the scheduled program. This device not only increases the mobility of the user within the city but also enhances the individual’s ability to develop coherent cognitive maps; because it gives the freedom of choice to pick-up the location for “meeting places”. For instance, beside landmarks, paths have been given new identities by mobile society. An increase in the number of indoor or outdoor meeting places (some being entirely random in selection), contributes to the cognitive maps and thus to the identity of the city. This stands as a contradicting argument to the classical understanding of the city and its parts, which is by and large accepted to be based on visual experiences. The predetermined and limited components (nodes, landmarks) which help individuals meet (and socialize) are now modest items of a larger inventory of settings. This thesis is aiming to analyze the behavioral and perceptual changes that derive from mobile communication practices. Through this research, the architectural and spatial qualities of the old and new inventories of meeting places are also a part of the study to reveal the differences, if any.