A small selection of my published feature stories from Turkey and the region, focusing on environmental and urban issues as well as civil society and human rights.


This Turkish Chef is Fighting Climate Change with the Help of Syrian Refugees(Ensia, November 2019)
By tapping traditional knowledge, Ebru Baybara Demir is helping make farming in southeastern Turkey more resilient to climate change.

The ‘Most Hopeful’ New Housing in Turkey (CityLab, February 2018)
Twenty years after being displaced by an earthquake, families in Düzce, Turkey, are getting homes that they helped design and build themselves.

Contested Spaces (Disegno, Autumn 2017)
Istanbul's long-running battles over public space and urban liveability have been thrown into sharp relief by a decade-and-a-half-long building boom that has shifted demographics and living habits, and in so doing helped to inspire a new generation of architects, planners and designers.

Science, Interrupted (Discover, September 2017)
War and strife have uprooted many researchers. Can their life’s work be saved?

Paradise Lost? (Discover, September 2016)
Turkey’s Neolithic city of Çatalhöyük may have been an orderly society built on tolerance and equality — until it fell apart.

In Istanbul’s Ancient Gardens, A Battle for Future Harvests (Yale Environment 360, February 2016)
Development pressures are threatening Istanbul’s centuries-old gardens, which have produced food for the city’s markets since Byzantine times. Gardeners and environmentalists are fighting to preserve them.

Peeling Back A City’s Layers (Discover, September 2015)
Subway construction offers archaeologists rare opportunities to dig into historic urban centers — but with the clock ticking.

The Olive and the Power Plant (Sierra, September 2015)
Turkey's rush to build coal plants comes at the expense of its most beloved culinary ingredient.

Dammed, Dirty, Drained by War: Can Iraq's Tigris River be Restored? (The Christian Science Monitor, October 2013)
Restoring the Tigris to its free-flowing, clean former self is an upstream battle for Nature Iraq.

Other features

A Card Game Designed to Help Urban Communities Plan for the Future (CityLab, February 2019)
Imaginable Guidelines gives players a shared vocabulary and base of knowledge with which to talk about their city.

A New LIFE: Helping Refugees Become Food Entrepreneurs (Culinary Backstreets, December 2018)
Istanbul-based project gives a helping hand to Syrian refugees wanting to enter the food sector in Turkey.

Back to the Land: Urban Turks Tackle Rural Life (Culinary Backstreets, March 2018)
The number of Turks swapping the city for the countryside is multiplying, driven by rising urban stresses and an increasingly stifling political climate.

A Sweet Gig: Danish Beekeeping Program Employs Refugees (TakePart, October 2016)
Bybi's urban beehives help the environment while creating opportunity.

Living (And Dying) With Coal (Sierra, March 2016)
Photographer Kerem Yücel captures the health effects of Turkey's rush to build coal-fired power plants.

A Bowl Full of Hope (GOOD, March 2015)
During Istanbul’s cold winter evenings, the volunteers of “Engelsiz Çorba” bring together three marginalized groups in Turkey’s largest city: cyclists, the disabled, and the homeless.

Why DIY Public Spaces Are Starting to Take Off in Turkey (CityLab, February 2015)
A small but growing movement is positioning itself as an alternative to the massive development projects reshaping Turkey’s biggest cities. In the wake of so many top-down, large-scale redevelopment efforts with little to no community input, these designers and builders are focusing on human-scale, easily replicable urban improvements that are responsive to local residents’ needs.

Farming on the Edge: Istanbul’s Threatened Urban Agriculture (Culinary Backstreets, September 2014)
Many of the city’s once numerous small farms and market gardens (known in Turkish as bostan) have already fallen victim to urbanization or are at risk of doing so.

She Turns Trash into Cash...” (More, March 2014)
One candy wrapper at at time, Çöp(m)adam creates jobs for Turkish women who have never had paid work before.

The Istanbul That Might Have Been, and Might Still Be (CityLab, March 2013)
A book of unbuilt Ottoman-era architectural and engineering plans sheds surprising light on the current building boom in Turkey’s largest city.

Turkish Artist Paints Cuts, Bruises on Old Masters (Womens eNews, February 2013)
Derya Kılıç aims to show that violence affects “every woman, in every place and in every time period.”

How the Garbage Pickers of Athens Predicted the Greek Economic Crisis (CityLab, July 2012)
A new documentary sheds light on the Greek city's most vulnerable residents.

Making Water Women’s Work (The National, March 2009)
Water is a universal need and right, but traditional cultural roles mean that the lack of it affects women and girls more severely than men. With water scarcity becoming an ever more urgent issue, the role of women in protecting and managing the resources has taken center stage.

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