Loss of Spatial and Urban Memory as a Problem of Conservation

Loss of Spatial and Urban Memory in Conservation





Memory, Place, Conservation


While history dicipline incline towards micro history and alternative literature from dominant nation history narratives, some approaches to understand significance in terms of life experience of place where social events occur, and to conserve “soul of the place” discuss. This attitude brings closer conservation scope to community step by step, and initiate the studies for spatial belongings related to urban memory. In spite of this, it is possible that conservation  dicipline, still and mostly, express to have a technical content. In this context, the study aims to discuss significance of the concept of memory and soul of the place remaining background in comparison to technical conservation process in terms of conservation approaches, even though it is in the limelight in recent years. Despite some principals mentioned above improve internationally, it is seemed that the authors mainly focus some researches towards physical place knowledge and partly eliminate analysis of which contact coherence and memory over intangible values. In this context of this problem, the study clarifies the relationship between memory, and space and city, after that, the role of memory in “community design” and the significance of the concepts; the soul of place and belongings in terms of conservation studies. After this explanation, it is discussed the need for new methods and approaches supplied social sciences dicipline for conservation of spatial memory exposed to danger of distruction through neoliberal policies in recent years. Finally, it is stated the importance of caring conservation sense minded the style of relationship between human and space, and of abandoning hasty and rent-focussed approaches.

This study discusses whether the conservation action, which mostly focuses on physical space and capital-oriented transformations, causes amnesia in our country. In this context, the study aims to discuss, through some examples, that the problem of memory loss, which occurs as a result of physical interventions under the name of protection within the scope of Law No. 5366, occurs as a result of neglect of protection principals.

Against such a problem, it was emphasized that the concepts of social memory and the spirit of the place should be handled in line with the international protection principles, which express their absolute importance in the conservation dicipline, and that the physical interventions to be made should be applied by considering these principals. In this direction, the importance of oral history studies emerges in order to understand the spirit and memory of the place. An effective oral history study is possible with mapping and participatory methods. In order to carry out such qualitative analyzes, first of all, a detailed documentation process on scale from micro to macro, from object to landscape will be needed. This documantation process is carried out with the data recording system with the support of technology and a national cultural inventory is created.

As a result, architectural values and memory elements are gradually being destroyed within the existing hegemony in cities.Memory destruction is seen as a product of capitalist accumulation processes and it is necessary to take measures for this. Therefore, a human-space interactive conservation approach should gain importance. Otherwise, the danger of the emergence of a generation that has forgotten its past is essential. In order to overcome this situation, it is necessary to be competent in defining and protecting spatial memory elements in terms of institutional-conceptual infrastructure, legilation and practices of not only the conservation practices, but also the entire spatial planning practice. The fact that we have a practice that is far from this competence today is a fact that needs to be considered.

In our current practice, inquiries about the relationship between spatial plans, especially urban renewal and transformation processes, and urban memory remain in the background. Interventions made from the top down and only within the framework of economic expectations both in the field of planning and protection render cities without memory and therefore without identity. Within the framework of cartesian perception and the rationales of capitalism, space is detached from all temporal, sensory and emotional bonds, gradually becoming commodified as a direct object and easily turns into a comsumption tool. Spatial planning and conservation practice should be responsible for the public interest in producing approaches and representations that will enable the Cartesian paradigm to re-percieve time and space, which they seperated from each other.

Author Biographies

Ayşegül Altınörs Çırak

Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi, Mimarlık Fakültesi, Şehir ve Bölge Planlama Bölümü, İzmir, Türkiye

Yunus Emre Sarıkaya

Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi, Fen Bilimleri Enstitüsü, Şehir ve Bölge Planlama Bölümü, İzmir, Türkiye