THE EVALUATION OF INTERIORITY IN THE IDENTITY OF PUBLIC SPACES
Keywords:Interiority, place identity, public interior, public space, Kızlarağası Inn
Public spaces in the context of everyday life in an urban environment include all places with public access and public use. Places for public interaction provide the greatest amount of human contact. In every city, many interiors are considered public because they are of or pertain to the people in everyday life. As part of public spaces, public interiors have an important role in creating place identity.
In an urban environment, place identity is defined by meanings as well as the elements of setting, activities, and events taking place within that environment. This paper aims to reveal the interiority attributes and elements of public interiors to determine how they influence the identity of interior places. This understanding clarifies how this differs from the more general concept of place identity in public spaces.
To do this, a framework for identity was constructed with three components: physical setting, activity, and meaning, based on the main theoretical perspectives of Relph (1976) and Montgomery (1998). To determine the relationships between the interiority indicators of public interiors and identity, this case study focused on Kızlarağası Inn, a historic inn in İzmir, and its immediate surroundings. Data concerning the components of place identity were collected through archival research, observations, on-site documentation, questionnaires, interviews, behavior mapping, and tracking.
The analysis of the attributes and elements of place identity in this public interior indicated that the interiority of public spaces can play a positive role in increasing place identity. Moreover, the evaluations revealed the effect of internality in each component of place identity. Features like well-defined boundaries, closeness to human scale, volumetric properties, legibility, the potential of promoting a wide range of activities, and promoting a different sensory context stem from the internality of place.
This study emphasized the importance of public and urban interiors as significant places that facilitate public life. Moreover, it showed the extension of interior spaces outside the buildings, which emphasized a new perspective for interior architects and urban designers by bringing a new understanding of the interiority.
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