The role of urban landscapes in the formation of urban identity and urban memory relations: the case of Van/Turkey

Aşur F., AKPINAR KÜLEKÇİ E., Perihan M.

PLANNING PERSPECTIVES, vol.37, no.4, pp.841-857, 2022 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 37 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/02665433.2022.2090418
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, American History and Life, Art Source, Avery, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, Geobase, Historical Abstracts, ICONDA Bibliographic, Index Islamicus, Public Affairs Index
  • Page Numbers: pp.841-857
  • Keywords: Oral history, urban memory, landscape studies, planning history
  • Van Yüzüncü Yıl University Affiliated: Yes


Located on the eastern coast of Lake Van in eastern Turkey, the city of Van is home to numerous urban landscapes - both ancient and modern - that occupy important places in the city's collective cultural memory. This study examined how information on Van's spatial landscape was represented cognitively; by evaluating these perceptions, this study investigated the relationship between urban landscapes that could give the city and collective urban memory a particular identity. Whilst doing this, we also attempted to determine relevant emergent themes pertaining to the city. Accordingly, the information making up the personal memories of Van's residents was holistically analysed through oral history interviews conducted with several individuals. Interviewees' references to urban landscapes revealed that both urban memory and urban identity could be regarded as fundamental spatial elements. Emergent themes pertained primarily to recreational areas, activities performed in these areas and panoramas of water. Despite marked differences in their professions, interviewees' memories showed numerous similarities. Although many scholars have extensively analysed urban identity and cultural landscapes, the case of Van has yet to be discussed.