Instances of Emerging Agonistic Spatialities in the Contemporary City: The Production of Differential Geographies in the Public Space of Istanbul
Keywords:Public Space, Differential space, Digital geography, Gezi Park, Istanbul
Today, the virtually deterritorialised digital public sphere produces recombinant effects on the increasingly fragmented physical and social urban environment. The Gezi Park Movement in Istanbul has produced an exemplary instance of resurgence of citizens in the struggle against the obliteration of participative engagement enacted by the augmented spectacle orchestrated by hegemonic economic powers. This instance has showed unprecedented collective spatial productions, liberating the potential of the pervading digital realm. This article discusses evidence found in the tensest moments of territorialisation of this situated urban movement generated by a contention on the subsistence of a key central public park â€“ the oldest of the country. Evidence from digital media sources, supplemented by interviews with key stakeholders, is used to support a theoretical speculation on the changing role of public space in our society and the emerging paradox of centrality in the digital age. The exploration considers the movement at the wider city scale, evaluating the dialectic relations between its different parts and layers. The crucial role of new technologies in shaping spatial relations is foregrounded and evaluated as fundamental constitutive element of a hybrid public space, where differentiation is the leading force of urban transformation. Considering the complex meta-spatial dimensions of the new public realm, a new interpretations to the Lefebvrian notion of â€˜differential spaceâ€™ emerges. The â€˜right to the cityâ€™ in the multi-layered networked habitat poses a new prominence on urban centrality that, in its reconfigured elaboration, triggers fundamental claims for the non-renounceability of genuine, reterritorialized, urban commons.
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