A Conceptual Exploration of Hidden Spatial Layers: Reading Urban-Breccia

Elif Öztürk Aksoy*, Pelin Dursun Çebi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sustainable urban spaces, from social and cultural perspectives, can be characterized not only by the preservation of the historical cultural structures within them but also by the subjective and collective meanings contributed by the individuals inhabiting these spaces in their daily lives across physical, social, cognitive, and cultural dimensions. Therefore, the planning and construction of socially and culturally sustainable cities is a challenging endeavor due to the intricate and dynamic nature of the urban phenomenon. The main goal of this study is to investigate the meanings of the different layers of the urban space phenomenon and how they can be conceptualized at the core of social and cultural sustainability strategies for cities. The study aims to reconceptualize urban space through the lens of ‘memory’, depicting it as ‘urban-breccia’ that emerges along the axes of remembering–construction and forgetting–destruction, mediated by visible and hidden layers. Within the entirety and variability of physical realities, concepts, phenomena, and occurrences, the urban-breccia generates dynamic, complex, multilayered, and ambiguous relational systems through the struggles of the visible and hidden layers vying for predominance. These relational systems within urban-breccia signify both semantic and syntactic approaches that encompass visible and hidden layers. It is believed that such a study would contribute to the endeavors that seek to find the fundamental domains that render urban spaces culturally and socially sustainable, within the synthesis of urban space’s physical, social, cognitive, and cultural perspectives, through a temporality inherent to memory.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1625
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

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© 2024 by the authors.


  • memory
  • phenomenology
  • semantics
  • space syntax
  • sustainability
  • urban-breccia


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