Evaluating public spaces through the concept of other: A heterotopic approach


  • Seda Buğra Tekinalp image/svg+xml Istanbul Technical University

    Seda Buğra Tekinalp is a PhD candidate in Architectural Design at Istanbul Technical University (ITU). Having earned her Bachelor of Architecture from Izmir Institute of Technology (IYTE), she continued her studies at ITU, receiving a Master's degree in Architectural Design while simultaneously working there as a research assistant. Her research interests focus on contemporary architectural theory, urban architecture, and culture and space. Currently, she works as a research assistant at Balıkesir University.

  • Ayşe Şentürer image/svg+xml Istanbul Technical University

    Ayse Sentürer is a professor of architecture at the Istanbul Technical University (ITU), Faculty of Architecture, Department of Architecture. She teaches architectural design studios and diploma project at the undergraduate school, gives courses and supervises thesis at the architectural design graduate program.  She conducts researches at the intersections of architectural theory, design and criticism including representation, and aesthetics. She participated in numerous conferences, panels, exhibitions, and received awards. Apart from ITU, by invitation, she has run architectural design studios, participated juries in various schools in different countries. She also has numerous articles on architecture, architectural/urban/rural design, and education.




heterotopia, otherness, public space, text analysis, urban reading


This study offers a critical evaluation and an alternative urban reading method for public spaces in the contemporary architectural environment by examining the presence of different identities in different spaces through the concept of heterotopia and its expansions. The exploration of heterotopia as an instrument and its methodological application in the analysis of public spaces highlights the pursuit of culturally resilient urban environments that are adaptable and meaningful for all users. Therefore, the study formulates a systematic evaluation method for public spaces by incorporating a comprehensive methodology that integrates both theoretical exploration and practical observations. The concept of heterotopia, which unfolds through parallel text–space readings, has provided the opportunity for a comparative analysis based on the differences between its definitions and the user profiles and usage practices of public spaces. This study establishes a consistent analytical framework through a meticulously crafted "seven-step view lens" derived from an extensive review of architectural discussions on heterotopias. This innovative lens categorizes heterotopias into three distinct groups according to specific criteria and contexts, facilitating a detailed examination of public spaces' diverse aspects. By systematically categorizing the identified heterotopias, the study not only deconstructs their existing narratives but also proposes transformative strategies for future design interventions. Such categorization allows for a nuanced critique and interpretation of public spaces, potentially guiding the design of urban areas that are more inclusive and reflective of societal needs. These classifications offer a fresh perspective on public spaces, revealing their potential as platforms for vibrant social interaction and cultural expression, thereby contributing to the dialogue on urban resilience. Hence, the multifaceted nature of heterotopia offers a powerful lens for understanding urban complexity, informing a shift towards inclusive, sustainable, and resilient design. Ultimately, the study highlights the role of heterotopia as a method that interrogates the production of spaces coexisting with the 'other,' unravels its dynamics, and proposes an approach for creating dynamic, inclusive, and adaptive public spaces. This study will contribute to architectural discourse by offering a new perspective on how public spaces can be designed or reimagined to accommodate and reflect the diversity and dynamism inherent in contemporary urban life and offers a pathway for crafting public spaces that are resilient to social and cultural flux while serving as platforms for diverse community engagement.


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How to Cite

Buğra Tekinalp, S., & Şentürer, A. (2024). Evaluating public spaces through the concept of other: A heterotopic approach. Journal of Design for Resilience in Architecture and Planning, 5(1), 01–17. https://doi.org/10.47818/DRArch.2024.v5i1116



Research Articles