Centers for Urban Studies
Recently, the number of centers gradually increasing makes it necessary re-thinking on the centers for urban studies, their functions and set a conceptual framework on centers for urban studies. At that point, the definition of urban studies get importance.
So, the cities have economic, social, cultural, political and spatial dimensions, that coming together at different levels, and being changing and transforming over time, depending on context and process structures, complicate the understanding and disclosure of conceptualization and expand scope of the research area of city. Urban studies may include studies on public health issues in the field of health sciences, environmental and ecological issues in the field of natural sciences, sociology, economics, political science, cultural studies, demography, history, geography legal issues.
In this context, the centers for urban studies, take over as important institutional structures by institutionalizing research activities of varying issues and let to people independent by means of research activities.
However, it is difficult to set the conceptual framework of centers for urban studies by means of only these definitions. Determining the basic areas of discussion of the knowledge of the theory,
- Organizing-storage of knowledge
- Transferring-spreading-sharing of knowledge
- Using-reproduction of knowledge
issues, presents more coherent starting point to create a conceptual framework that redefining the functions of centers for urban studies.
In a systematic manner, one of the fundamental functions of centers for urban studies is organizing and storing all kinds of data, information about all the contexts of the city. Organizing information contains, on the one hand, the current physical, demographic, economic, socio-cultural and so on. All kinds of encoded data structures associated with space and that this data is updated regularly, on the other hand, records of coded or implicitly contains information about the all aspects of the city’s history to make accessible the resources of city history. Such an arrangement work has critical importance for creation of city memory. The storage of information includes the creation of both physical space and the virtual environment of library and archival that have city’s all written and visual material. In this way, providing visibility of information about the city and the centers for urban studies, so on providing communication with visitors of center and "the information describing the city to citizens" will become possible.
On the other hand, dissemination of information about the city, transfer and sharing are another important function of centers for urban studies. Center for Urban studies, located in the intersection of society and the academy, community stakeholders, local governments, citizens and stakeholders, and academic researchers in universities, faculties, departments, other research centres, let to mutual dissemination and exchange of information between academics and students.
By the way, arranging colloquium, conferences, symposia, panel discussions, open sessions, exhibitions, organizing workshops about the city's history, context, problems and opportunities and contributing students, carrying out activities to enhance cooperation between academics and researchers, and supporting research activities are the main topics of activities for centres for urban studies. Also, these activities, on the one hand, provide meeting of scientific information with the city community, in other words, spread the information into the public domain, on the other hand, and eliminate the risk of withdrawing of academic world from real social life of the city.
The function of reproduction and use of information about the city is basically,
- the research projects, which are produced within the framework of the authentic and innovative research methods and techniques, let to increase of the level of understanding and explanation about urban structure.
- implementation projects that re-identify research problems, opportunities, priorities, and developed creative solutions based on these definitions by re-interpretation of researches,
- the evaluation of the information that gained from the research and the experience from the implementations in the field of education
Reproduction and usage of knowledge by these methods, is also important by contributing to the agenda of the city, identifying not on the agenda of local politics that define new priorities, pointing out the potential problems, allowing the creation of context in terms of responding to social needs.
These functions of study centers and all the tools used to perform these functions, contribute to make the formation of an intellectual accumulation about the city, in other words, are the basic steps for the formation of urban consciousness.