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The residential neighborhood as a spatial habitus: the lived space of Yenimahalle, Ankara

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2019
Okkalı, Merv
The neighborhood is a fundamental socio-spatial phenomenon in the urban environment. The neighborhood culture manifests itself in the urban space through the spatial patterns of everyday life. Hence, the lived space of the neighborhood can be defined as a narrative of different life forms of different social groups. The lived space includes the diversity of functions, activity patterns and relationships between manand-environment. Therefore, the architectural features of a neighborhood has implications in its spatiality and community life. In this respect, the neighborhoodunit idea has been influential in the way Ankara was built as a capital city, and is still present in terms of its architectural, cultural and historical values. However, in the recent years, both the physical and social patterns of the residential neighborhoods have been shaped or transformed as mass housing or gated communities due to some economic, demographical, sociological and cultural reasons. However, the neighborhood is constituted of environmental, cultural, moral, communal and local values within the city life. Thus, these values should be taken into consideration in the planning and urban design processes. In this context, this thesis defines the neighborhood environment as meaningful milieu within which the inhabitants are being enabled, and their lifestyles can be enhanced. Hence, the neighborhood as a living environment is conceptualized as a spatial habitus which refers to the cultural embodiment of physical space, and this thesis focuses on the features of the lived space of a residential neighborhood, and critically examines the relationship between inhabitants’ life forms and neighborhood-unit spaces in terms of habitus. A specific site is chosen in Yenimahalle as an example of a residential neighborhood to document both physical and social features of the neighborhood and the lived experience of its inhabitants in the context of habitus.