Atlas of urban design: textual analysis and mapping of production of knowledge in Turkish context

Acar, Yiğit
Urban design is a field of design practice that can also be seen as a discipline in making as it is still developing its own methodical tools and episteme. This study examines the Turkish academia as a case for the formation of urban design knowledge, through a series of analysis on the corpus of knowledge that has been produced for the last three decades. In this sense, “The Atlas of Urban Design Knowledge” is a study on the formation of the field of urban design within the Turkish academia in terms of its methods, epistemic positions and discourses. The study generates its knowledge through collection, analysis and critical reading of a corpus of knowledge that is the products of research within Turkish academia in the field of urban design. The corpus of research has been defined as the production of research in urban design at PhD. level, master’s degree products, and all the presentations in the conference series; “Urban Desing and its Practices”. Within the scope of the study, a combination of three methodical tools have been utilized. Each of these methodical tools have been named as a “layer” of research. Firstly to be able to organize and analyse the data, a series of tools and methods, specifically textual analysis methods, belonging to the domain of digital humaties have been utilized. Within the study, this layer has been named as “the layer of exploration”. Secondly the results of the exploration have been visually represented and interpreted. This layer has been named as “the layer of mapping”. The framework that guides the layer of mapping has been developed with reference to the concepts and frameworks of critical cartography. Thirdly with reference to the peculiarities in the maps, the collected material have been evaluated discursively. This layer is named as “the layer of interpretation”, and the theoretical framework for the third layer has been developed with reference to a social constructivist perspective.Following the mapping of the corpus of urban design knowledge in the Turkish context, and the critical reading of the knowledge thus generated, six major sets of findings are presented in the conclusion chapter. Firstly, the autonomy of research within the field of urban design is discussed with reference to the problem definitions of the material that has been examined and related to the political and urban condition of the Turkish context. Second and third conclusive remarks are on the disciplinary aspects of urban design. In the second conclusion, urban design is defined as a discipline in making and a reading of the field with reference to the disciplines of architecture and planning underlying the shortcomings in formulation of urban design as a discipline are presented. The third conclusive remark defines urban design as a research program, and the shortcomings arising from the definition of urban design as a discipline and the contextual issues that limit the autonomy of the research program are presented as bottlenecks that keep the program from further progressing. The fourth set of concluding remarks reflect back upon the relevancy of discipline. The fifth conclusion discusses the development of the field within the Turkish context by framing four generations of scholars within the field and their characteristics and defines the problems faced by the current generation of scholars within the field. In the last concluding remarks, reflections on the method of this study are presented.


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Citation Formats
Y. Acar, “Atlas of urban design: textual analysis and mapping of production of knowledge in Turkish context,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2017.