Exploring lost spaces towards regaining them for urban life: The case of Konya historical city center


  • Büşra Ünal image/svg+xml Konya Technical University

    Büşra Ünal, who graduated from Selcuk University, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, in 2019 with the third-highest rank in the department, completed her MSc degree at Konya Technical University, Faculty of Architecture and Design, City and Regional Planning Department, in 2021. She completed her thesis under the supervision of Assist. Prof. Kadriye (Deniz) Topçu with the thesis titled "Examination of lost spaces in the context of urban design and regaining them to urban the life: the case of Konya city." Since 2016, she has participated in various training programs (such as Netcad 7.6, Lumion 6, Infrowork 360, Autocad 2, and 3D visualization, diction, and body language) to improve her professional career and knowledge. In addition, she participated in the City Workshop, which was established within the Konya Metropolitan Municipality in 2021. She is currently an urban planner in the Provincial Directorate of Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change in Bitlis.

  • Kadriye (Deniz) Topçu image/svg+xml Konya Technical University

    Kadriye (Deniz) Topcu received her BSc degree from Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, in 2001. Her MSc (2004) and Ph.D. (2011) degrees are from Selcuk University, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Department of Urban and Regional Planning. In her MSc thesis, she studied urban identity and image concepts. She continued her academic career with her dissertation relating the concepts of traditional and modern shopping areas and their spatial qualities. She has been working at Konya Technical University, Faculty of Architecture and Design, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, as an assistant professor since 2018. She conducted postdoctoral research as a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley (USA) in the 2013–2014 academic year and studied with Prof. Michael Southworth about the POE technique in urban design. Her research interests include urban design, urban environment psychology, urban aesthetics, and urban sociology. She has been teaching courses related to her research interests at the university since 2014. In addition, she is the department exchange program coordinator and a member of the board of directors at the Konya Technical University Architecture and Urban Design Application and Research Center. And she actively worked as a commission member for two years in the 'City Workshop,' which was established within the Konya Metropolitan Municipality.




lost space, figure-ground theory, linkage theory, place theory, Konya historical city center


The functions, values, and meanings of cities, which have been in constant change and transformation throughout history, are changing in response to rapidly changing conditions, particularly in recent times. The areas where this change can be observed most concretely are generally urban spaces. Some places in the city, which cannot keep up with this speed, may lose their structural or functional use over time and remain idle when they are not fed or equipped with suitable activities that will integrate with the environmental character and bring vitality. Therefore, within the very valuable urban land, they may become lost spaces for the city. It seems very important to regain such spaces in the rhythm of daily urban life, considering that they have strong economic, social, and physical potential, as well as being lost. From this point of view, the aim of the study is to identify the lost spaces in the historical city center of Konya, which was chosen as the sample area, and to identify the urban space(s) that should be intervened in with priority among the identified lost spaces. The Trancik method was used to find the lost spaces in the area using detailed analysis. With the help of figure-ground, linkage, and place theories in Roger Trancik's book titled "Finding Lost Space: Theories of Urban Design" (1986), both morphological analyses (figure-ground and linkage analyses) and questionnaires and cognitive maps were used to understand "place" and measure its perceptibility. The research to understand the "place" was carried out with a total of 50 people using the random sampling technique. Then, within the scope of the study, all the findings obtained from figure-ground, linkage, and place analyses were synthesized, and all lost spaces within the sample area were determined. Among these identified lost spaces, Kılıçarslan Square and its environs were determined to be the most undetected, unused, disliked, and first intervention requested by the participants. This result underlines the necessity of saving an important public space in the heart of the city from its current transition space and using it more effectively through scientific evidence. This result underlines the necessity of saving an important public space in the heart of the city from its current transition space and using it more effectively through scientific evidence. With its effective use, the area will be reintroduced to the city.


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How to Cite

Ünal, B., & (Deniz) Topçu, K. (2022). Exploring lost spaces towards regaining them for urban life: The case of Konya historical city center. Journal of Design for Resilience in Architecture and Planning, 3(3), 348–375. https://doi.org/10.47818/DRArch.2022.v3i3062



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