Reshaping water-related urban places with collaborative participation: a critical examination of the Kabataş waterfront

Meryem Melis Cihan Yavuzcan*, Elmira Ayşe Gür*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study aims to draw a general framework for recreating water-related urban places. It discusses design criteria and processes that will strengthen people's and the city's relationship with the waterfront. It also explores the functional requirements of a participatory process to incorporate social and functional relations into place making. Design/methodology/approach: The study is based on a comprehensive case study of the Kabataş project process. Data collection methods include archive searches, questionnaires, interviews and analysis. The study analyses the architectural decisions, the role and perspectives of the key actors and the current dynamics that shape the process. It points out shortcomings and needs of communication and collaboration with different stakeholders, especially with the users. Findings: The results show that political and power dynamics play an important role in shaping the process. Non-transparent processes increase the gap between the aspects of community and decision makers in current practices. Establishing holistic, waterfront-specific and collaborative approaches is a necessity. The results also show that the success of participation depends on procedural dynamics such as scope, method, timing, representativeness of the community, institutionalisation level, transparency and deliberation. Originality/value: Despite the intense interest in waterfront regeneration, few studies have focused on the potential of the participatory process. The study examines the intersections of waterfront design decisions and collaborative participation at various scales and emphasises the importance of local actors in the social production of space.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Architectural Research: Archnet-IJAR
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Coastal identity
  • Collaborative planning
  • Participation
  • Waterfront


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