In-between space and social interaction: a case study of three neighbourhoods in Izmir

Can, Işın (2012) In-between space and social interaction: a case study of three neighbourhoods in Izmir. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This research discusses the intermediate space that lies between private and public space, as well as its definition and importance in space configuration regarding urban morphology and social relations. It investigates how the organisation of in-between space affects social interaction in different urban patterns. As many researchers caution, terms such as semi-private and semi-public can be deceptive in attempting to define the relationship between the building and the street, because of the overlapping territory of this space. Therefore in this study the in-between space concept is used to portray this space and the interrelations that take place.

Modernist urban space has changed the spatial relations between the building and the street. Previous research (Gehl, 1996) has revealed that the organisation of space between buildings has an important impact in terms of social interaction. Through organising these thresholds and giving the possibility of forming social activities, people have the chance to encounter more frequently and develop friendships. Thus this study also examines whether modern environments can develop a sense of community and neighbouring compared to traditional neighbourhoods by their spatial configuration and broken relation between the building and the street.

This research adopts a mixed method approach to understand the complex relations and socio-spatial structure of the city. It utilises various methods through focusing on three dissimilar urban patterns in Izmir, Turkey, which developed in different periods. Two neighbourhoods with a traditional street pattern and one modern housing unit of middle- and high-income groups are compared through using space syntax analysis, snapshot observations, questionnaires, focus groups and interviews.

The results of the correlations between space syntax analysis and observations revealed that while movement is correlated with global and local streets in city centres, it is more related to local streets and to the connectivity of the street pattern in sub-centres. Stationary activities are mostly related to highly connected streets in traditional neighbourhoods. Therefore connectivity is very important regarding in-between spaces as well as landuse. These features also support the frequency of social interaction outdoors. In modern settlements, long-duration activities and movements are less strongly correlated than in traditional neighbourhoods.

The results of this study support the arguments developed by those urban sociologists and environmental psychologists, who argue that physical space may provide for social interactions, but not yet for a sense of community. The results of the empirical analysis refuted the hypothesis that modernist housing estates would reveal lower sense of community. Although modern housing units support introverted lifestyles and lack of in-between spaces compared to traditional and mixed use neighbourhoods, the results of the survey proved a higher sense of community compared to that in the traditional ones.

The research therefore proved that developing sense of community and neighbouring are related with various factors other than mere organisation of space, which have to be taken into account both by urban design and space syntax analyses.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Oc, T.
Heath, T.
Keywords: In-between space, space syntax, mixed method, urban morphology, sense of community
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering > Built Environment
Item ID: 12637
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2012 15:25
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2017 13:05

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