AbstractHuman life that is collective and diverse on the one hand, but complex and chaotic on the other, is largely experienced in metropolitan cities owing to a significant amount of migration. Istanbul can be defined as a city that constantly witnesses massive influxes of migration and ultimately becomes socially heterogeneous. It was hypothesized in this study that the multilayered urban character of the city affects the perceptions of city-dwellers, especially children. As such, the study focused on the perceptual differences of children living in socially diverse urban settings, and a comparative analysis was conducted to reveal the children’s environmental perceptions regarding their nearby home environments. This case-study-oriented research was conducted with 11-year-old children from two subcommunities both located in the periphery of Istanbul: one from a gecekondu settlement on the fringes of Istanbul, and the other, a planned residential settlement (PRS). The methodology was based on the representations by the children since this methodology has the potential to present an understanding of spatial perception through both quantitative and qualitative dimensions. A representation of children’s houses with their immediate surroundings was requested from the children so that two different cognitive map datasets were obtained regarding two diverse subcommunities. Significant results were obtained in the study, in which gender and settlement type were used as independent variables. As a result, it was revealed that the girls were more inclined to draw their own rooms, were more focused on indoor spaces and were further apt to draw the domestic appliances. When the results were evaluated depending on the settlement type variable, it was revealed that those living in PRS represented indoors more and were specifically focused on their own rooms, while those living in gecekondu settlement tended to draw domestic appliances and outdoor spaces more.

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