IN SEARCH OF WELL-BEING IN LIMINALITY: NO LONGER-NOT YET

The Aesop YA Conference is considered important in bringing young academicians from all over the world together and providing a platform for discussion on the issues related with the city and regional planning. Apart from its geopolitical importance, Turkey also plays a bridging role between Asia and Europe, North and South, East and West, incorporating discussions from different geographies. Hence, as the host country, Turkey is considered to provide an excellent fit to the conference’s mission which values the participation of not only the Northern countries but also the countries from East and Southeast regions. Departing from the idea of ‘host country’ instead of ‘host institution’, it is recognized that the cooperation of two AESOP-member institutions in Turkey would bring more efficiency and diversity. The Local Organizing Committee and the YA Coordination Team invite the young researchers, academics, and practitioners from all relevant disciplines to join this activity.

It is highly believed that the only constant of 21st-century cities is changing. The processes of change are driven by social, economic, political, and environmental factors as a response to unexpected and unpredictable occurrences. In the process of change, cities experience a liminal state in which uncertainties and instabilities become dominant, and the search for new socio-spatial systems emerges. As a term, liminality refers to a transitory condition of a threshold between distinct states of being. A time-based perspective proposes a period of transition from a former state to a point in the future. In spatial terms, on the other hand, liminality is referred to as a border condition that is transient between different spatial contexts. In either case, this transitory condition acknowledges a degree of ambiguity, creating a ‘neither/nor’ situation. We are at a threshold where we struggle with a new crisis each day. The solutions that we produced yesterday become inadequate, and what we design for the future remains blurred. In the liminal state, while the traditional methods and tools used in cities become dysfunctional, the search for well-being with new systems intensifies. Although at first glance, this in-betweenness brought by liminality connotes a negative condition precluding to come up with a normative definition, in fact, this unboundedness exhibits a strong potential for new explorations. Having learned from past experiences and simultaneously being on the verge of discovering the future, today stands as the liminality itself as a source of new potentials for urbanists, politicians, designers, researchers, and many more disciplines to discuss the new possibilities for cities. As such, it becomes rather meaningful to seek the holistic ways of ‘well-being’ of the society in a state of transition. In this case, well-being, which defines an ideal and desirable way, carries the perception that it is essential to create a healthy, fair, and equal environment from today’s cities.

Nowadays, cities are facing many situations such as climate change, technological transformations, population movements, economic crises, pandemics, and so on. It is an urgent necessity to cope with and adapt to these expected or unexpected situations. This process, in which traditional facts become dysfunctional and classical methods remain insufficient, brings the need to reconsider cities and planning discipline with creative and innovative approaches. Understanding cities and dealing with planning approaches with the interdisciplinary perspective of young researchers become essential in this context.

This conference aims to discuss how ‘well-being’ can be achieved for the whole society with a comprehensive and holistic perspective under the liminal and uncertain conditions that cities experience. In this regard, we welcome papers with a conceptual, constructive, empirical, experimental, or theoretical framework in all areas and different scales of city and regional planning and urban studies. These debates are handled in different contexts in cities and regions in different geographies of the world. Thus, young scholars are expected to investigate the concepts of cities not only for the Global North but also for the Global South.

The conference will take place from April 5th to 8th, 2022, with parallel and common activities in collaboration with Middle East Technical University and Yildiz Technical University in Turkey. The conference is a four-day event that contains five keynote talks, five sessions for young academics to present their research, and workshops. Five proposed track sessions are:

1. Contemporary Issues in Planning Approaches,

2. Emerging Global Crises: Towards Sustainable and Resilient Cities,

3. In Search of Inclusiveness for Socio-Spatial Justice,

4. Bridging Past and Present to Future: Heritage and Beyond,

5. Re-interpreting Publicness in Everyday Life.

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