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Taksim Republican Square: a field study on socio-economic, form, use and meaning dimensions

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2011
Kırmızı, Meriç
This study aims to ask what meaning the current users of Taksim Republican Square (TRS) in Istanbul attach to it, besides an understanding of the socio‐economic profile of its current users and their forms of usage as well as evaluations of its public square quality. Despite the many research on the public spaces and public squares in particular, what separates this sociological one is its viewpoint of the user. Because of the emphasis on the user’s perception of TRS, twenty one in depth interviews and seventy one field surveys with the place users were applied as the method of analysis in addition to the five expert interviews to also include the opinions of the institutions with an influence on the physical arrangement of the square. Following a detailed analysis of the possible relationships among these socio‐economic, form, usage, and meaning dimensions of TRS, some propositions are made with respect to these variables based on the findings from the field. The larger implication of the findings is that people hardly think of TRS in symbolic terms in daily life and the meaning of TRS today is multiplied and blurred for them due to the multiple temporal and spatial layers. In this multiplicity and ambiguity of meaning, people’s awareness of the continuing political and ideological struggles over the place also has an influence. In approaching to the question of the meaning of a highly symbolic public square from an urban sociology perspective; this project will contribute to future research on similar topics.