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Tuba Doğu & Melis Varkal


Porous urban patterns create holistic spatial, visual and perceptual continuity for urbanites’ everyday practice of civic and civil social life. It is vital to design a public realm seamlessly connected by integrating the flows of pedestrians to the civic spaces and semi-public commercial spaces whose inclusive experience evokes liveliness, facilitates interaction and enhances the vitality of urban life. Porosity is a key concept to understand different levels of interaction between people, public realm design and citizen’s perception or interconnection. It can help to define the intermediate boundary between public, semi-public and private spaces via low and high levels of permeability. High porosity addresses the design of urban ground levels that are fluid to movement whereas low porosity means highly fragmented experience of the public realm, social amenities and civic life, spatially and perceptively. 


Programming a synergistic ground level mix that enhances daily life requires variety in: public space like streets, squares and parks; civic spaces like government services, transit centers, libraries, theaters, religious institutions, museum lobbies/landscape and semi-public/commercial spaces like market places, cultural institutions, recreation facilities and office lobbies. Highly porous cities are holistic in their design of space, visual continuity, mobility, barrier free design and programming with unrestricted access to urban ecology, civil and civic institutions and valued commercial mixes.

This time-based field research on urban porosity is to understand how everyday practice of urbanites during working and socializing changes according to weekdays and weekends at day (9am) and night time (9pm).


Based on a highly used commercial and civic corridor – Cumhuriyet Bulvarı in Izmir, research findings reveal out that time restricted ground level usages have negative impacts on human density, thus urban porosity. While percentage of impermeable spaces drastically increase from 34% on a weekday day time to 74% on weekday nights, conditions of impermeability remain stable as 76% both during day and night on weekends. As the percentage of accessible-permeable spaces decrease by 75% in weekdays, the change in conditional-permeable spaces is 50%. Although the percentages remain stable on weekends, impermeable spaces are high as 75% followed by 14% of conditional-permeable and 10% accessible-permeable spaces.

The categorization was derived from the text  ‘Public Permeability/Impermeability’ by Tunçbilek (2011).

This research is a part of the project “Imagineable Guidelines, Istanbul [IGI]“ curated by SANALarc. Find out the details here.