Exploring migration, diversification and urban transformation in contemporary Istanbul: the case of Kumkapı

by Kristen Sarah Biehl

Working Papers WP 14-11
October 2014
ISSN 2192-2357 (MMG Working Papers Print)

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The growing flows of international migration to Turkey have significant implications for the social, economic and spatial transformation of recipient cities across the country. This exploratory paper aims to highlight some of these implications, through discussing empirical findings from an ethnographic study carried out in an inner-city locality of Istanbul known as Kumkapı, which today has become a central hub of arrival, settlement and transit for various migrant groups. It raises four main points: 1) the emergence of migrant hubs are not accidental and the determining factors are multiple 2) they are highly diverse in new and complex ways, 3) within such areas multiple differences emerge and converge in shaping how space is made accessible, useful and meaningful, 4) diversification and informalities in migrant hubs are perceived and responded to in varying and conflicted ways.   

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