Virtual Space as a Public Sphere: Rethinking the Political and Professional Agenda of Spatial Planning and Design

Even we have not been able to recognize its whole transformative effects within ten to fifteen years, relatively a short period of time for human civilization; communication systems (internet, wireless application protocols, teleconference systems etc.) and simulation technologies have radically shifted the conventional understanding of space concept. In the societies that succeeded to integrate technology into everyday life, sociospatial practices in relational terms are currently defining new platforms to reproduce themselves: next generation of public sphere, which is virtual one. While such a transformation has a potential to construct new socialities and political formations, which could not have a chance to be experimented in ‘real’ space it also has a challenge to trigger a kind of fragmentation in urban space, with its highly increasing dominance. The current condition about the issue, calls for spatial planners, designers and policy makers to develop a holistic theoretical framework on both inner characteristics of virtual space and its relationship with the real space in urban context. What we need here is not a purely technologically deterministic discourse, but a socio-critical point of view. In this sense, the main aim of the paper is to discuss the syntactic structure of virtual environments that tend to construct new collective meanings and publicness; and the relevancy of public space in emerging context. While doing this, the problem statement ends with the questions of how planners and designers can benefit the means of virtual space within a participatory planning process and for the design of high-performance real urban space.


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Citation Formats
M. A. Barlas and O. Çalışkan, “Virtual Space as a Public Sphere: Rethinking the Political and Professional Agenda of Spatial Planning and Design,” ODTÜ Mimarlık Fakültesi Dergisi, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 1–20, 2006, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: