Conservation of Urban Space as an Ontological Problem

Günay, Baykan
The objects of conservation are known in the western languages by such epistemologies as heritage, historical building, monument, site, or beauty. Such a terminology exists in Turkish too, however, either consciously or unconsciously, legislation in Turkey rests on the notion of natural and cultural beings (tabiat ve kültür varlıkları). In spite of such a sophisticated definition, and that Turkey has a well developed legislation concerning conservation; it is hard to say that the society as a whole finds the phenomenon appropriate. To further this argument, this paper will not concentrate on the more popular topics of architectural heritage or inheritance, monuments, authenticity, cultural identity, aesthetics, natural environment, or archaeology, or their legislation, but will interrogate the place of conservation as a form of reproduction of urban space, and an element of the existence of the human being. While the former concept is borrowed from both urban ecology discourse of the Chicago School and Marxist interpretation of reproduction of urban space, the latter is considered as an argument as to the perpetuation of the human being. It is in this framework that conservation is based on ontology, which is defined as ‘the theory of being’. Whether the human being’s interest in its past and the environment it is living in is just an intellectual effort or a more vital question concerning its being shall be the concerns of the following discussion on conservation.


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Citation Formats
B. Günay, “Conservation of Urban Space as an Ontological Problem,” ODTÜ Mimarlık Fakültesi Dergisi, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 123–156, 2009, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: