Skip to main content

Contested Border Urbanism: Learning from the Cyprus Dispute

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Border Urbanism

Part of the book series: The Urban Book Series ((UBS))

  • 317 Accesses


The narratives of space, place and identity provide a basis to analyse the meanings of borders for Cypriots living in the north and south of the island. The historical background of the conflict in Cyprus introduces mixed villages and traces the importance of walls and borders in the urban fabric of Nicosia, Europe's last divided capital. We analysed narratives of crossing borders when they were opened every day, crossing on Ledra Palace/Lokmacı Street in Nicosia after three decades of closure. Opening this path would transform the dynamics of deep-rooted ethnic divisions and foreground shared cultures that draw on Nancy’s concept of inoperative community (Nancy 1991) and Agamben’s Coming Community (Agamben 1993). Analysis of two examples against the background of de Certeaus’ concepts of everyday life (de Certeau 1984) informs this urban epistemology: Home for Cooperation and a learning centre/café. These two spaces are neutral in the buffer zone/borderland for unified collectivity and “Occupy Buffer Zone Movement” activities, occupying a non-place and transforming into a public square through grassroots activism. Cypriot history is complex and eclectic. It requires anti-essentialist acceptance of its multiple origins to imagine the future of urban territories in Cyprus. The communities of the temporal civic grassroots are particularly intriguing to challenge the top-down urbanism models and understanding of community and being in common. They produce and re-appropriate public space through collective participation, alter the spatial perception, approach the borders, and redefine urban space.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
USD 139.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 179.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 179.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others


Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Melehat Nil Gülari .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2023 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Gülari, M.N., Zecca, C. (2023). Contested Border Urbanism: Learning from the Cyprus Dispute. In: Zaman, Q.M., Hall, G.G. (eds) Border Urbanism. The Urban Book Series. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics