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Public Transportation Systems: Comparing London and Istanbul Ellenna Eccles April 26, 2014

London Tube train, The Guardian website

Istanbul Metro, Turkey Travel Planner Website

Created for Global Urban Lab Rice University: School of Social Sciences & Kinder Institute for Urban Research


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Table of Contents

Table of Contents .......................................................................................................................................... 2 Executive Summary ...................................................................................................................................... 3 Report............................................................................................................................................................ 4 I. INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................. 4 II. THE ISSUE ...................................................................................................................................... 4 III. THE RESEARCH ........................................................................................................................... 5 V. Background ............................................................................................................................ 5 V. Methods.................................................................................................................................. 5 IV. THE FINDINGS ............................................................................................................................. 6 London, United Kingdom ........................................................................................................... 6 Istanbul, Turkey .......................................................................................................................... 8 Accessibility ................................................................................................................................ 8 Connectedness........................................................................................................................... 10 V. CONCLUSIONS ........................................................................................................................... 11 Bibliography ............................................................................................................................................... 14 Acknowledgments....................................................................................................................................... 16

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Executive Summary London and Istanbul are both large cities whose populations are rapidly increasing. Both have established systems of public transportation comprised of a myriad of transport modes. However, as the cities continue to expand, the demand for effective and efficient public transportation continues to increase, creating an ever-present need for the expansion and refinement of existing systems. The crowding during peak times is similar on main modes of these two cities, and each has quite a collection of options for public transport. This report compares and contrasts the existing systems and the main modes of transportation in use in each city. It finds that the organization of the system plays a large role in its overall effectiveness, as does the collaboration of modes and the challenges faced by transportation engineers. This report draws a comparison between cities using the similar modes in each by giving information on the mode’s function and examining its role in the system as a whole. By studying the individual parts of the current systems and the goals accomplished by each within the overall system of public transportation within the city, this report explores how each city has cultivated a system of transport that caters to its ever-growing population.

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I. INTRODUCTION An immense problem facing rapidly growing cities is transportation, how to create a system which moves its citizens effectively, efficiently, and safely from one place to another within the city. This task may prove arduous and even quite fragmented as the city grows and builds upon itself, often with little pause afforded to city planners and transport engineers to consider potential transportation routes and the feasibility of various modes of transport. It is a problem faced and consequently addressed by cities like London, United Kingdom, a bustling global city with a population of over eight million people and an expansive train network dating back to the 1800s, and by cities like Istanbul, an emerging global city nearly 1.7 times the size of London in population with a count of over thirteen million people. Both London and Istanbul are vast cities with considerable influence over their respective countries and both have substantial world influence. As the influx of immigrants and other national citizens into these countries continues to rise, both cities are faced with the task of accommodating their growing numbers. One such challenge, and certainly an essential one to address, is the transportation system.

II. THE ISSUE The Istanbul Transport Corporation, under their objectives for city transport, declare on this issue:

“Traffic problem is undoubtedly one of the biggest problems that the city of Istanbul and its people face. The continuous increase in the population and the number of motor vehicles make the city traffic in Istanbul a nightmare. Public transportation in the city is carried out by rubber-tired vehicles (buses, minibuses, taxis, and private automobiles) to a large extent. Although this pressure on the city traffic has been somehow lessened by the alternative measures, new projects are essential” (“ULAŞIM A.Ş.”). The demonstrated need is one of the movement of peoples that requires a look at the existing system and a plan by which to improve the system to better accommodate the city’s population as it grows. Building a successful system for the transportation of citizens requires several mechanisms to be put in place in order to ensure the effectiveness of the system in moving large amounts of people across both long and short distances at affordable rates and in reasonable time. One of the ways London has addressed this need over the years is the continual expansion of its underground railway system, which runs mainly within inner London and is capable of running continuously and regularly all day long. The London bus service also supplements this. In Istanbul, comparatively, a similar system seems to be arising amid the myriad of travel options, and that is the collaborative systems of Istanbul’s underground metro and light rail as well as the fairly recently installed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. The goal of this paper is to examine the transportation systems in place in London and Istanbul and how they play a role in managing each city’s growing population. The paper aims to examine the main modes—that is, the most-used or most central modes—of transportation in each city and how the 4|Page


systems in one city compare in time and traffic efficiency, accessibility, and connectedness to the existing main modes of the other.

III. THE RESEARCH In the three months I have spent living and studying in London, I have observed first-hand the various modes of the transportation system and how they compare with and augment one another. London’s underground railway system is a network of crisscrossing railway lines that, by completely avoiding road traffic, are able to cut across the city at impressive times, minimizing obstacles and maximizing efficiency in order to deliver the city’s public transportation users to their destinations within the city as quickly as possible. I also spent a week in Istanbul, Turkey to observe the various systems in place there. Istanbul has many pedestrians, both people completing their full journey on foot and people connecting from one mode of transport to another. The city is crisscrossed by tram lines and BRT lanes, accompanied sometimes by entrances to underground metro stations. Sometimes these metro stations are positioned near above-ground tram stations or bus stations, but sometimes they are not very close to stops of other modes. Numerous buses run across the city of various sizes and lengths and colors, some labeled with destinations and others left unmarked. Background The London underground and bus systems especially are very organized and stem from a long evolution of public transportation of Londoners within the city. The London Transport Museum, which I had the opportunity to visit during my stay in London, exhibits how the first buses were horse-drawn stage coaches and Hackney carriages that were too expensive for the common public and that carried people from the city to outlying regions and vice versa. The introduction of the Omnibus later yielded other varying forms of horse-drawn coach until the horse was successfully replaced by a steam puller and, eventually, principle transportation in and around the city split between coaches and automated railways. However, as London grew, traffic also swelled to troubling levels and traffic authorities solutions for the congestion. Elevated railways and underground roads for coaches were suggested before the underground railway was settled upon and the first segment of what would grow into today’s massive London underground railway system was installed to connect King’s Cross and Paddington aboveground train stations, creating the first underground railway system in the world. Istanbul’s Metro system, by contrast, has grown out of much more recent pressures. Istanbul’s swell in population is increasing very rapidly and consequently is also increasing the same demand for greater transport and connectivity that London experienced many years ago. The underground metro, first introduced to the city as a funicular tram service in 1874 now runs fourteen lines and passes under the Bosporus Strait that separates Istanbul’s European and Asian side. Methods Many resources on public transportation reside online in archives and on professional websites, much of which have aided this paper’s analysis of the systems being discussed. However, there seem to 5|Page


be fewer online published reports, articles, and other current information on public transportation in Istanbul than there are for systems in London, so in that respect drawing a comparison between the two has been challenging. However, the systems in the respective cities do indicate efforts to keep up with increasing numbers of passengers and to combat the amount of carbon emissions made by transport vehicles; first-hand experience with the most popular modes of each system has contributed to an analysis based on the systems’ operation and the services provided as means by which to accomplish smooth and effective transportation operation that also encourages travelers to use the system rather than private cars. In order to trace trends in transportation within the city of London, I also consulted the most recent published Travel in London Report 6 stored on the extensive Transport for London website and detailing an account of London’s distribution of transportation methods ordered by modes of transport, demographics of the users, and purpose for travel. The report compares the various modes of transportation against one another and discusses each mode of transportation available for public use within the city. A supplement to the report compares transportation data gathered in the city over five years. The survey was completed by household, and thus reports only on the movements of city residents and not of visitors or out-of-city commuters, but with respect to London’s vast population, the survey provides useful information on usage of the various modes of transportation in the city.

IV. THE FINDINGS London, United Kingdom The London Underground, Overground, and DLR railway systems were designed with city residents in mind. However, as the city grew in size, many of the lines remained stationed principally around the center of the city, leaving the outer reaches of the city without much railway access. Bus services run through these areas and serve as the main public transportation method for local travel in these areas; through certain areas, the National Rail also serves as a viable transportation option when travelling to or from the city center, but survey results from the most recent Travel in London Travel Demand Servery (sponsored by Transport for London) indicate that car ownership is much higher in these boroughs than in the boroughs of and around the city’s center. London’s underground railway, though listed in the most recent Travel in London Travel Demand Survey as comprising 7.2 percent of London’s total transportation, has become a big part of London’s city culture and heritage. Within localized areas, both in bustling business centers and in more remote zones, local workers and regulars all know the location of the nearest underground station. Crowding in underground trains swells significantly during peak times as opposed to other modes of transport. When directions are given within the city, often the nearest underground station is given as well. The London Underground system currently runs eleven underground lines with a regular and semi-reliable service running through much of central London. It is used for commuter as well as leisure trips and A London Tube Map, Transport for London 6|Page


transportation to and from various London airports and national and international train stations. It seems to be the quickest way to get around much of central London, not counting short distances better completed by walking, and operators of the system, mainly Transport for London, tend to endeavor to keep the system quick and easy to use, adding a range of in-station and online services to keep users informed. Overall, it is the most-used public transportation system in the city, apart from the bus and tram system. The London Underground is arguably one of the city’s biggest successes in terms of traveler transportation, and the mayor of London continues to plan and implement new measures aimed at further improving the underground’s reach and operation, including added tracks, longer trains, and increased accessibility in stations. In addition to London’s extensive underground system, three other, above-ground railway services operate for the benefit of city travelers: the London Overground, the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), and the National Rail, which runs all over Britain but has several ports within London. The DLR lines have access to London’s newest business center in Canary Wharf and to London’s southern boroughs, many of which have limited access to underground lines. The Overground and Docklands Light Railway (DLR) services both run on elevated railway tracks across the city and are fairly similar to one another, except that overground rails form a circular route around central London and reach up into northeastern London into areas not reached by London’s underground rails. London’s Docklands Light Railway is the newest railway transportation system within the city, developed with the London Docklands at Canary Wharf in the 1980s and 90s. Canary Wharf is London’s business center, built to create office space to accommodate the influx of business corporations moving into the city. London’s rundown Isle of Dogs area in the eastern borough of Tower Hamlets was transformed into a center capable of housing the new businesses, and the Docklands Light Railway was built to bring workers into the area. A light rail was chosen in place of the London underground because expanding the underground rails into the area was judged to be too expensive. Currently, the DLR services mostly southeast London, between the Square Mile and Canary Wharf and down into the upper parts of some of the boroughs south of the Thames where access to an underground station is often very limited. The DLR has seen a fairly steady increase since it’s opening in 1987 with the 2012 London Olympics corresponding with a peak in usage of the service, as The London DLR, Panoramio website with most other modes of London public transport. The system continues to expand, creating new stations, as Canary Wharf and the surrounding areas and expansion of the existing public transportation system becomes increasingly more necessary. The bus system in London has become incredibly successful in recent years as efforts to improve and organize the system began to yield results and bus service usership began to increase substantially. The bus system has therefore been very instrumental in effectively getting people out of private cars and into mass transit vehicles. The bright red double-decker buses have become iconic of London and have proved to be very useful in filling in gaps left by other public transportation modes.

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A few other, less-used modes of transportation help Londoners get around. Adding to the growing collection of ground transportation options is the new installation of public bicycles. Stationed strategically around inner-London are bicycle docks which first appeared in 2010 and continue to give travelers an alternate mode of transportation by which to complete their in-City journeys. The bikes can be rented from any station and returned to any station. Use of the bikes continues to increase, and authorities are pleased with the system’s success, even throughout the colder winters following the bikes’ first appearance. The London Tramlink, which opened in the year 2000, runs between Wimbledon in the borough of Merton and Beckenham in the borough of Bromley and links several southern boroughs. It’s use, too, has seen an increase in recent years, though it is not nearly as widely used as other modes of public transport within the city. Additionally, there is one form of public transport by air: the Emirates Air Line that connects the boroughs of Greenwich and Newham by cable car. The airline, which is London’s newest form of public transportation and opened in 2012 just before the London Olympics, runs a single cable car line over the Thames in clockwise motion. The line was very popular during the London Olympic games as a tourist attraction as it proves a very substantial view of each borough from above, The Emirates line is London’s first cable car line and though the cars move rather slowly, a single trip from one station to the other takes about ten minutes and may prove shorter than a bus or DLR trip to one’s destination. The London river bus runs five routes and provides concessions and Wi-Fi for its passengers. Unlike the London railways and buses, the river bus is less crowded and guarantees passengers a seat, offering a much more comfortable travelling experience. The river bus is less necessary now than river transportation must have been back in the days when horse-pulled coaches crowded London streets. In fact, it reflects its smaller usership by advertising and providing the aforementioned luxuries that systems like railways and buses cannot afford. However, other forms of transport are quicker for getting across the Thames River and are understandably more widely used. Istanbul, Turkey Among the “alternative measures” already in place in Istanbul is its recent development of a Bus Rapid Transit system, which runs across both the Anatolian and European sides and is thus the world’s first intercontinental bus transport system. The fourstage implementation process was completed in 2007 and was created to decrease traffic on main roads, including the two bridges that connect the European and Anatolian sides of Istanbul. Though the system The Istanbul BRT, Mercedes-Benz website transports some 700,000 passengers a day and has successfully cut journey times significantly, its location in the center of main traffic makes stations harder to get to. However, the system manages to run several buses per minute and positively contributes to the ongoing effort to transport the maximum number of people in the minimum amount of time.

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Another method employed by Istanbul authorities in aimed at combating pollution and traffic congestion within the city is the creation of the Istanbul Ulasim A.S.(the Istanbul Transportation Corporation), which was established in 1988 and put in charge of expanding, managing, and improving congestions by operating rail transport systems and engaging in all transportation activities within the city. The corporation is in charge of Istanbul’s light rail and its underground rail line (or metro), which together carry up to 350,000 passengers each day, and the city tramline, which carries up to 160,000 passengers per day. Of the road traffic, a signaling system and rule of right-of-way had to be established for the sake of safety and road navigation, but the line successfully provides transportation for public traffic and pollution. However, it is not removed from mainstream traffic, as are the other two, which run alone, one above ground, one below. These three branches of the system can be used together to complete a single journey; they are all paid for by similar methods and can be used in conjunction to Istanbul Metro Map, Public Transportation in travel across districts, making it possible to complete Istanbul, Wiki one’s journey without a car. Istanbul’s Nostalgic Tramway is more sentimental than practical. The trams were brought back from museum displays in 1990 where they had been placed since their removal from circulation in 1966. They reportedly carry around 6,000 passengers per day, but they only run on a single line. Istanbul’s ferry is the main form of transportation for transporting people across the Bosphorus Strait. Since there are only two bridges that allow road traffic across the Bosphorus, the existence of the ferry as a means of transportation does much to reduce congestion on the main arterial roads and, with its three decks, is able to accommodate large numbers of people at a time. However, in contrast to London’s river bus, the Istanbul ferry has much more water to cross and many more people to transport, and since, until recently, the only alternatives were to take a bus or drive a car across one of the two bridges, the ferry service plays a much bigger role in the transportation of peoples than its London counterpart.

Accessibility The London Underground rail system and the central bus system are by far the most crowded during peak times; the Overground and DLR trains are far less crowded during peak commuting hours but are also less connected to the large business centers in Central London and to school zones. The bus system runs on the roads alongside cars and other private vehicles but is often given its own bus lane within which the designated stopping spaces at bus stops are located, allowing traffic to flow normally without being impeded by buses stopping for passengers. The Istanbul BRT system, as mentioned above, takes this one step further and dedicates two full lanes in the center of the road to the rapid transit buses for the entire length of the route, allowing buses and normal traffic to run separately and allowing the buses to run unimpeded by traffic congestion that causes delays. This also allows the BRT system to run buses at more regular intervals, running an estimate of three buses per minute during peak times, as opposed to London’s single bus per six or seven minutes during peak times. However, because of these separate lanes, platforms are less accessible to pedestrians, and the system only runs six lines in total, as 9|Page


special mid-road lanes must be created on any roadway where a BRT system is meant to run. Normal buses and minibuses, as opposed to the BRT system in Istanbul, still run alongside other vehicles on the roadway and have more flexible routes and more accessible stops, making them, perhaps, more useful for short distances, but their vehicles have smaller capacities and are much more crowded during peak times. Additionally, they add to congestion on the railway. With the exception, to a small degree, of the light metro rail and the BRT system, stops on sidewalks, in the case of buses and Dolmus taxis, and stops on platforms, in the case of the underground tram line and the ferry services, are as simple as finding the platform. However, for the accommodation of disabled persons and the installation of extra services to make the transport system operable and helpful to everyone, the Istanbul underground metro system is currently ahead of London in terms of accessibility with all of its tram line stations outfitted with wheelchair accessible ramps to the platforms. The stations also include rigid pathways to guide the visually impaired as well as Braille and audio-visual instructions in station elevators and floor indicators on platform edges that mark where train doors will open. The Istanbul Ulgasim or Istanbul Transport Corporation has installed these measures under the motto, “Everyone has equal right to access to all living spaces” (“Accessibility”). Compared to the London underground system, Istanbul seems to have made a greater effort, at least on the underground metro, to accommodate disabled persons. Though many London underground stations include elevators, only 137 of all 368 London underground, overground, and DLR stations (about 37%) have step-free access. However, most London buses currently in circulation are low buses equipped with wheelchair ramps and designated spaces inside for people in wheelchairs or elderly or otherwise disabled passengers. In almost all cases, including underground, overground, DLR, bus, and National Rail, stops are announced and, in most cases, shown on a screen as well. In London Underground, Overground, and DLR stations, announcements are made verbally and visually on the platform to notify passengers of approaching trains. The main items Istanbul seems to be including that London lacks are markers for the door locations, tactile pathways, and Braille instructions in many elevators.

Connectedness One main advantage of London’s public transport system is the ease with which a traveler may transfer from one mode to another. Many Underground and Overground lines share stations, making it possible to switch trains without leaving the station; some even share with national rail stations. Often bus routes that cross the path of an underground or overground line will have a stop that corresponds with the train station or a stop positioned nearby. The remarkable connectivity of the transportation system’s main modes in London contribute to an easy-to-use system that encourages travelers to use the public transport system as opposed using private cars. These are measures engineered on purpose to do so and are succeeding rather admirably. However, the system is connected in other ways. Several methods of transport work in tandem, including and especially the railway and bus systems. The topical transpiration buses allow for the system to compensate for any failings in the underground and overground railway services, which benefits the transportation system as a whole. This is possible in large part because city railway and bus systems are controlled and operated by a single umbrella company in charge of regulating the main modes. The

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resulting cohesion is one of the reasons London’s system of public transportation operates at its current level of success. In February 2014, discontented members of the London Underground, as a part of a movement by London union workers, took strike action for forty-eight hours, creating waves of disruption in the transport system that is so centered round the operation of the London underground railway. In preparation for this disruption, about one hundred additional busses were added by transport authorities to bus routes around the city to accommodate the large masses of re-routed passengers trying to get to their destination. This compensation did help to somewhat reorganize otherwise disrupted journeys. The connectedness of the system in London allowed for this sort of trading of passengers and pointed towards an organized system capable of managing undesired changes in the system and still, to some extent, completing the task of moving the masses. However, many London Underground and Overground lines share stations; this makes switching between lines easy for travelers when the system is running as it should, but during the strike this caused sweeping closures of stations across the city, disrupting travel and causing confusion. The DLR, however, as a recent addition to the overall transportation system within the city, most often has its own stations positioned close to overground or underground stations but requiring the passenger to make the connection between modes by first exiting one station and walking to and entering another, creating a connectable but not connected relationship between the Docklands Light Railway and the other London railway systems. During the strike, the DLR stations were relatively unaffected, and travelers using this system were able to successfully complete journeys made on this railway. By contrast, Istanbul’s public transportation system is operated by a handful of companies and is in comparison less connected. The stations of different modes do not always correspond and at times the transfer between modes involves a considerable walking distance. As the system expands, this obstacle should lessen, but at the present time London seems to be ahead of Istanbul in terms of inter-modal connection and ease if the completion of journeys involving two or more methods of transport.

V. CONCLUSIONS Compared to London, Istanbul is a city of millions more people, and is ever-growing and tasked with the job of decreasing roadway traffic by improving and promoting the use of public transpiration. Recently the installation of a BRT system and the building of the Marmaray tunnel have greatly affected this effort and continue to do so; as the system expands and improves, greater numbers of travelers are able to be transported more quickly and efficiently, helping the city as a whole to run more smoothly and reducing the amount of pollution generated by transport vehicles. With the exception of accessibility of stations, London is currently ahead of Istanbul in terms of the public transportation system; individuals in London often opt not to buy a car or not to use the car they own, but rather to use the public transportation system since it is so effective in the dense city, whereas Istanbul residents continue to obtain cars, which add to the city’s pollution and cause congestion on the roadways. London’s system is also constantly expanding with the knowledge that it must keep up with the growth of the city itself, so the effort is ever ongoing. Connectedness of the systems, however, can cause some difficulties in journey completion. London Underground and Overground may benefit, in case of future strikes, by being a little more independent to allow continual operation when one or the other is out of commission (like underground 11 | P a g e


and DLR); shared stations go a long way for connectivity and should be preserved and even increased in places where lines cross without stations, reducing the need to take longer trips or make more line changes in order to access the nearest connecting stations. However, continued operation of one mode when the other is not operational should be an option. The underground railway and the bus system, for instance, are strongly allied when it comes to transporting travelers through journey segments, and when disruptions on the underground occurred, during underground strike action in February 2014, the bus system was still able function; the greater numbers of people using the system and the added buses indicate that the bus system runs in tandem with the underground railway system. However, the massive number of overground station closures necessitated by underground station closures highlights a need for the system to refine or reorder its functions so that travelers on one mode may move around on relatively normal routes even when a corresponding mode has London River Bus Map, Project Mapping Website limited service. Additionally, London’s bus system���s capability to compensate for other modes in the event of delays or failure is a viable, if a slower, alternative to the failed system and should be preserved until the system has improved to the point that it is able to circumvent itself with backup routes or guaranteedoperational vehicles. The system, however, is limited by the problem of redundancy: underground lines and bus routes may run similar routes without a waste of resources because the demographics and purposes of the users tend to differ. For instance, more grade school students use buses than underground lines. However, train lines with their own alternate routes may prove to be a waste of resources. Another solution may be able to increase the number of connecting railway stations, continuing to encourage travelers to use public transportation while engineering higher occupancy buses in order to increase transportation capacity without increasing road traffic. Istanbul’s BRT system, by contrast, has made a smart and successful contribution to the decrease in road traffic and the movement of people’s, however the routes are limited by the exclusive median lines needed to accomplish higher bus speeds. Expansion of Istanbul’s BRT system would further decrease the need for city buses and therefore justify their systematic removal from circulation, thereby further decreasing the amount of vehicles on the road and increasing the proliferation of high-occupancy public transport vehicles, which is a process that should be continued. An effective transport system must accommodate the crowds at peak times of day, namely in the mornings when many people are going to work, typically between 7 am and 9 am, and in the evenings when many people are coming from work or school and headed home, typically between 3 pm and 7 pm. Therefore, the mayor of London’s plan to increase train length is a very reasonable and potentially helpful one. Istanbul normal buses are often extremely crowded and indicate a need for transport authorities to either encourage travelers to use trains and the BRT buses by expanding both networks or increase capacity of normal buses. However, as these buses are typically privately owned and only managed by public authorities, the latter change may be harder to effect. However, recent and current expansion plans appear promising for increasing the reach, service, and use of trains. For instance, the Marmary Tunnel project, completed just last year in 2013, involved the upgrading of miles of preexisting rails and nearly forty existing railway stations, yielding a cleaner and more smoothly run system as well as a system that now provides an alternative method of transport for crossing the Bosphorus Strait. The new tunnel, finally completed and opened towards the end of 2013, is the “deepest immersed structure in the world,” according to a history and analysis of the success of the project given by Railway-Technology.com. The 12 | P a g e


Marmary Tunnel has provided an alternate means of crossing the Bosphorus Straight and is yet another way Istanbul transport authorities are working to increase the services provided by public transport. The system may benefit from constructing more tunnels in the future and running more tram lines beneath the Bosphorus, similar to London’s accomplishments with its underground railway system.

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Acknowledgments I want to thank the Rice School of Social Sciences for organizing and facilitating both my semester in London and my trip to Istanbul. I would also like to thank Ipek Martinez, Abbey Godley, and Dr. Nia Georges for organizing the trip to Istanbul and for providing guidance throughout the trip. Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Michael Emerson for guiding and encouraging the development of this research project.

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Gul 2014 ellenna eccles