Narrative-City: Reading Post-modern Urban Character through Metaphors and Analogies

Creative Commons License

Kurtuluş E.

International Graduate Research Symposium (IGRS’22), İstanbul, Turkey, 03 June 2022

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: İstanbul
  • Country: Turkey
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The city is a sum of different syntactic and semantic layers and relationships composed together in time. With its unique character, the city manifests itself as a complex structure. The postmodern city is more than a clear composition of parts built around a center and certain hierarchies; it is an endless formation that does not have a beginning, an end, and a center, expanding in different dimensions syntactically and semantically. Every definition made to understand the city creates a new code that expands its borders. It seems almost impossible to make a single definition of the city. Therefore, discussing a number of metaphors and analogies addressing the post- modern city will be beneficial in terms of understanding the complex physical structure of the city and revealing the narrative character in it. Metaphors and analogies help to create an extension of meaning and new ways of reading/understanding the existent conditions for future studies in urban and architectural disciplines. This paper aims to read and understand the post-modern city through metaphors and analogies put forward in post-modern urban and philosophical literature to unfold alternative meanings and hidden/untold urban characteristics in a conceptual dimension. In this paper, specific urban metaphors and analogies such as “scrambled egg”, “ladder”, “enunciation”, “text”, “language” and so on from post-modern urban and philosophical literature are considered as trajectories for reading the urban conditions. The paper focuses on the dynamics creating the post-modern urban character firstly, then tries to understand the relationship between the metaphors/analogies and the city conceptually, and lastly scrutinizes prominent metaphors and analogies used by urban/architectural theorists. The paper concludes with a discussion of the potential and alternative reading methods of the city through linguistic codes. The city emerges as a “narrative” which is a fragmental, relational, multifaceted, and multi-layered structure to be unfolded and read.