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The spatial analsis of public squares in a rapidly changing social setting Konak Square as a case study
Squares as gathering places in cities have arose from the need for coming together which is necessary for the continuation of social life. Because of this, squares have an important place in urban life. In times, squares like the other urban spaces, have showed a change according to religious beliefs, economic and politic life of society andhuman needs. In spite of this, squares, in every age, act as an important element to provide social experience and occurrence of city identity. Urban public squares provide an effective ground for human interaction and communication. Therefore, they are important to determine the social character of cities and cultural identity. Urban public squares can establish a proper stage for spontaneous social experience and multiple human relationship in a direct relation with the environment. Because of this, they provide more opportunity for social experience than a barely sheltered place of our so called modem society. In contrast to many European cities, there is not a well established public square understanding which provides social experience and gives an identity to the city in our country. Although the squares have become a necessity for our society due to rapid structural changes in Turkish social life, they are still neglected by our current urban design practices. For, this reason, this study focuses on the spatial analysis of public squares in a rapidly changing social setting. Thus the study area of " public squares" is chosen as a research topic because of its importance in our society as well as in urban design. This research also aims to address the need for public squares in our society and contains a study in an urban design project in Konak izmir through an analysis of the characteristics of the square. KEY WORDS: Square, Space, Place, Public Space, Plaza, Urban Space, Enclosure, Continuity, Diversity, Vitality, Perception, Spatial Perception.