Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Systems - (Ph.D.)


New Jersey School of Architecture

First Advisor

Zeynep Celik

Second Advisor

Nukhet Varlik

Third Advisor

Eva Giloi

Fourth Advisor

Leyla Amzi-Erdogdular


This research explores the everyday lives of urban women from various social strata in Istanbul between 1930 and 1960. It designates the implications of the Republican reforms in urban spaces and concentrates on untold stories of women who belonged to varying social settings and professions. The everyday life of the city became more complex with the increase in participation of women during these decades. This research examines the myriad ways in which women asserted themselves in the urban fabric, following three threads. First, women's leisure and economic activities in the newly built public squares are investigated. Then, industrial workers and gender interactions on the factory workshop floor are explored. Finally, sex workers, one of the most marginal groups of the society, are examined through public health interferences both in the urban environment and regarding women's bodies.

This dissertation situates women's quotidian urban lives against the background of official positions, revealing discrepancies between the two. It concentrates on reforms that targeted modernization of urban life (open public squares), industrial production (factory workers), and public health (women's bodies and sexuality). The women investigated originate from diverse social groups that include entrepreneurs, professionals, vocal artists, factory workers, and prostitutes. The urban spaces range from central squares to factories and neighborhoods in the margins that were created and reorganized by modernization projects.



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