FROM DWELLING TO THE RIGHT TO THE CITY

Barış Kürdo

Abstract


The question of how the individual identifies with space and place and adapts to it is very much related to what kind of a relationship the individual builds with the place he lives in and how he performs this. Although world cities may adopt different ways of development, individual reactions bear similarities. Istanbul, which has been overwhelmed with migration, harbours a complicated network of residence, richness and poverty all at once. However, the individuals’ perception of space and place, their interaction with the neighbourhood, the attachment they build thereby shows similar patterns of reactions. Those who leave their hometowns and migrate to this city start to form a relationship with first the neighbourhood and then the symbols and the way of life that they enjoy. Those citizens, with the already settled residents, claim the city by making use of every amenity it offers. Nonetheless, what does it mean for an individual to claim the right to Istanbul, especially in the context of gecekondu? The answer to this question is intertwined with Harvey’s views on the right to the city. Tracing back, we see that the right to the city is essentially based on the concept of ‘dwelling’, which was defined by Heidegger as ‘the truth of Being’. It should not strike us as a surprise to mention de Certau with much admiration to how he puts walking into perspective regarding the relation of walking and re-producing space establishing a much sophisticated similarity to the speech act. I will try to give a glimpse to how all these intermingle in the case of İstanbul.


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