Designing the heterotopia: from social ideology to spatial morphology

Çalışkan, Olgu
Tümtürk, Onur
The established binary oppositions like 'modern vs. traditional' or 'urban vs. rural' fall short either to comprehend or to (re)generate cultural complexity of the contemporary societies. This problem is usually exposed by the critiques questioning the nature of design in urbanism reducing the domain to formal, functional or stylistic expressions in practice. The alternative track exposing another strategic outlook in the search for 'enforced' diversity within the neighbourhood, however, reveals some other social drawbacks in practice. Considering the fact that each community formation creates its own cultural interpretation of the living environment not only at the levels of building and street, but also at that of collective urban fabric, one could argue that the current urban design frameworks fall short to respond to the intrinsic complexity of localities in the city. An alternative approach, in this regard, requires a serious shift in the desired image of multiplicity of urban form. In that view, the paper addresses the concept of 'heterotopia' as the theoretical framework of a new design approach for the generation of an open urban fabric accommodating different socio-spatial settings in an integrated manner. To that end, the paper discusses 'heterotopology' as an alternative spatial conception of social diversity which embraces the fundamental ability of different communities to produce their own culture and to influence spatial form within the larger urban context. To elaborate the argument, the thought experiment of two design workshops is utilised as a kind of (methodological) 'research by design' from which a series of relational codes have been derived to generate heterogonous, but an integrated urban fabric. Eventually, the proposed morphology based on the autonomy of the fragments within an integrated (larger) spatial context is suggested as an alternative to the prevalent socio-spatial models of diversity in planning.
Urban Design International


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Citation Formats
O. Çalışkan and O. Tümtürk, “Designing the heterotopia: from social ideology to spatial morphology,” Urban Design International, pp. 30–52, 2020, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: