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The Cultural Politics of Urban Green Spaces: The Production and Reorganization of Istanbul's Parks and Gardens

October 4, 2017 | Basak Durgun

Piyalepaşa Mosque and Bostan (Market Garden) surrounded by a wall waiting for reconstruction into hobby gardens, July 30, 2017. Photo by Basak Durgun.

Basak Durgun is a PhD candidate in the Cultural Studies Program at George Mason University. Her dissertation examines the cultural politics of urban green spaces in Istanbul and how these vulnerable landscapes are engulfed in the social, economic and political processes of urbanization. Building upon the premise that green landscapes have a key role in both urban redevelopment policies and the cultural imaginary, Basak’s dissertation analyzes how different social actors (such as the state, real estate developers, social movements and gardeners) invest in these sites, and reimagine Istanbul’s future through their engagement with urban nature. Committed to participatory research, she engages with diverse efforts to extend the lifetime of Istanbul’s historical market-gardens and community gardens. Basak holds a BA in sociology from Ohio State University and an MA in cultural studies from Istanbul Bilgi University. Her interdisciplinary training is rooted in globalization studies, with a particular focus on urbanization, political ecology, cultural politics, gender and sexuality studies, and social movements.