Division and the City: Spatial Dramas of Divided Cities

Caner G.

MEGARON, vol.10, no.4, pp.565-579, 2015 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 10 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.5505/megaron.2015.29290
  • Title of Journal : MEGARON
  • Page Numbers: pp.565-579


Every contemporary city is divided to a certain extent. The present study is concerned with urban division defined by extreme tensions related to nationality, ethnicity, religion, and culture, which are channelled into urban arenas. Once these contestations are made spatially visible, the "divided city" with which this study is concerned appears. Well-known examples of such "divided" cities are Belfast, Jerusalem, Nicosia, Mostar, Beirut, and Berlin. Due to distinctive attributes, these cities contain an exclusive discourse that differentiates them from other urban areas. In this context, the aim of the present study was to comparatively analyze urban consequences of division in selected case studies: Belfast and Berlin. As each city has unique attributes of geography, history, and economic development, the processes and outcomes of their division differ substantially. This investigation of the consequences of urban division in a temporal perspective presents patterns of urban development before, during, and after division in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of spatial dramas faced by these cities. Comparative analysis revealed a common pattern of functional and structural urban consequences, in spite of differences. It is suggested that an illustration of common patterns of development can facilitate an early recognition and management of division. It is believed that the findings of the present study will aid future studies that aim to understand the patterning of urban division and generate planning models to tackle problems faced by divided cities.