Really public? Evaluating the publicness of public spaces in Istanbul by means of fuzzy logic modelling

Fatma Pelin Ekdi & Hale Çıracı

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Ekdi, F. P. & Çıracı, H. (1). Really public? Evaluating the publicness of public spaces in Istanbul by means of fuzzy logic modelling. Journal of Urban Design, 20(5), 658–676.

This paper draws upon a model of the publicness of publicly owned and managed spaces by means of fuzzy logic modelling. The value of this approach is that it is practical in simplifying and emphasizing both the interdependent nature of the concept of publicness and its complexity. The proposed model aims to effectively evaluate and compare the publicness of public space. The paper highlights different methodologies in understanding this publicness by considering various conceptual approaches at the heart of the debate about public space. In doing so, the paper is organized into four main parts. The first part considers the complex and fuzzy nature of the concept. The second presents the proposed model of publicness based on management, access and user dimensions by analyzing the leading discourse and previous models of publicness. The third part draws upon research methodology and fuzzy logic modelling, and the fourth part explains the findings of the case study in Istanbul.

Main finding
The research on Istanbul shows how public authority controls and shapes public space and therefore publicness and how publicness can shift from negative to positive with any alteration in management regulations. The model finds: (1) a clear relationship between the different dimensions of publicness, particularly between the animation of a space and its user activity, (2) significant variety in management regimes with regard to the public and democratic role of the space, and (3) low levels of publicness in most used and centrally located public spaces.

Description of method used in the article
Measures the publicness in publicly owned and managed (POM) public spaces on six locations. The study develops an integrated methodology using (1) In-depth literature review for secondary data on the concepts of public space and publicness; (2) Case study for primary data, including (a) Site survey: data collection on the parameters of accessibility, management and users; (b) Naturalistic observations; (c) Photographing and video shooting; (d) Interviewing users; (3) Data interpretation and fuzzy logic modelling. The site surveys were conducted simultaneously in June 2014 with pedestrian counting on two different days (one weekday one weekend day) and interviews with 80 users.

Of practical use

Organising categories

Case Study Spatial Methods
Urban Planning
Physical types
Geographic locations