Professor of Architecture and Urban Design
Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at the Department of Architecture and Design (ArD) at the American University of Beirut. Her research focuses on urban heritage. Her current research theorizes socio-spatial practices and conceptualizes urban recovery in relation to processes of historical editing, urban trauma, and protracted displacement.
Professor of Urban Studies and Planning
Professor of Urban Studies and Planning at the American University of Beirut. She writes about urban history and historiography, social and spatial justice, informality and the law, property and space, as well as planning practice, theory, and pedagogy. She researches, teaches, and advocates strategies for more inclusive cities.
Professor of Graphic Design
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the American University of Beirut. His scholarly work explores mapping as a method of researching, representing and analyzing socio-spatial phenomena. His work in critical cartography has covered many subjects including urban security, public space and, most recently, refugee practices in the city. At the Lab, he directs the Critical Mapping team.
Professor of Urban Studies and Politics
Professor of Urban Studies and Politics at the American University of Beirut where she is also co-founder and research lead at the Beirut Urban Lab. Her research investigates governance and territoriality in contexts of contested sovereignty; urban activism and oppositional politics; and how people make collective life in fragmented cities. She is the author of Le Hezbollah à Beirut: de la banlieue à la ville, co-author of Leisurely Islam: Negotiating Geography and Morality in Shi’i South Beirut (with Lara Deeb), co-editor of Local Governments and Public Goods: Assessing Decentralization in the Arab World (with Sami Atallah), and co-editor of Refugees as City-Makers (with Mona Fawaz et al.). She serves on the editorial boards of MELG, IJMES, EPC, and CSSAME.
Antonia Maria Bahna
GIS Database Guardian, Built Environment Database
Shareef Tarhini is a perceptive and motivated geomatics engineer adept at mapping and data management. He is passionate about showing a new perspective on reality through spatializing and visualizing data. At the Lab, he is the Built Environment Database guardian, and uses
ArcGIS tools to combine information, find patterns, and make new
Technical Assistant, GIS Team
Cynthia Bou Aoun
Mapping and Data Visualization Coordinator
Soha Mneimneh’s research focuses on the actually existing financialization of Beirut, the impact of financialization policies on middle class mortgage holders during crises, and the conditions which led to urban precarity in Beirut. She also works on housing, land, and property issues as well as the conditions of return in the areas affected by the Beirut port blast. Soha is a member of the council of representatives at the Order of Engineers and Architects of Beirut, and is a member of OEA committees working on building law amendments, municipalities, and Lebanon’s master plan. She holds a Master's in Urban Planning and Policy (2019) from the American University of Beirut and a Master's in Architecture (2014) from the Lebanese University.
Najmeh H. Viki is an instructor and urban researcher who works on the urban regeneration of historic cities. She earned her Bachelor's in Architectural Engineering from Iran University of Science and Technology (2006) and her Master's in Urban Design from the American University of Beirut in 2018. Her current research focuses on cultural heritage and participatory approaches for the recovery of cultural heritage.
Urban planning researcher and architect. Abir’s research focuses on urban housing and land policies and how they influence different modes of housing provision and acquisition. Her current research projects are focused on Beirut’s housing rental market(s) and on examining potential ways for improving land management policies in Lebanon, starting with the Betterment taxation principle. Abir received her Bachelor's in Architecture and Master's in Urban Planning and Policy from the American University of Beirut.
Isabela is an architect and urban researcher. Her work at Beirut Urban Lab includes projects that contribute to reclaiming Beirut’s coast for the public and advocating for innovative housing strategies in the city. She is currently developing her research on housing production into an urban planning thesis project within the MUPP/MUD graduate program at the department of Architecture and Design (ArD) at the American University of Beirut.
Translator and Communications Assistant
Zeina El-Hoss is a translator, editor and copywriter who holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Language from the American University of Beirut. She has worked with several marketing and advertising agencies, educational institutions, and multi-disciplinary research companies in Lebanon and GCC Countries.
Affiliated graduate and post-graduate students
Jan Altaner (Master of Middle Eastern Studies, Center of Arab and Middle Eastern Studies, AUB) - 2022
Jan is a trained historian with an interest in Lebanon's and Beirut's modern and urban history. He is interested in urban poverty, informality and the housing market in Lebanon prior to the Lebanese Civil War. At the Lab, he is currently conducting archival research and transforming his MA thesis on the history and planned erasure of a marginalized Beiruti neighbourhood into a research paper.
Sophie Linn Katharina Bloemeke (graduate student in Middle Eastern Studies, Center of Arab and Middle Eastern Studies, AUB) - 2022
Sophie is currently writing her M.A. thesis on post-disaster recovery governance and aid architecture in Lebanon. In her thesis, she is examining Lebanon’s Reform, Recovery and Reconstruction Framework (3RF) and the space it allocates to civil society organizations.
Thesis Committee: Mona Harb (adv.), Mona Fawaz, Carmen Geha, Jonathan Papoulidis
Mahmoud Bou Kanaan (graduate student of Urban Design, Master of Urban Design Program, AUB) - 2022
Mahmoud is working on the Masar Al Akhdar conceptual framing and design strategy at the lab.
Reine Chedid (graduate student of Urban Planning, Master of Urban Planning and Policy, AUB) - 2022
Reine is working on the City of Tenants research at the lab.
Layla Dadouch (graduate student of Urban Planning, Master of Urban Planning and Policy Program, AUB) - 2022
Layla is working on the Urban Vulnerability research at the lab.
Jean Makhlouta (PhD. candidate in Geography, research unit Géographie-cités, University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) - 2022
Jean's thesis focuses on queer mobilities and space-making in Beirut. It aims to underline how everyday queer strategies propose a new spatial reading of Beirut beyond a traditional and dominant spatial approach that circumscribes its interpretation in binary and fixist urban categories.
Nour Zoghby Fares (PhD. candidate in Development Planning, Development Planning Unit, University College London) - 2022
Nour’s research uses electricity provision as an entry point for understanding how cities of the South are governed. This provision happens typically by stitching hybrid, formal and informal forms of supply and distribution. By investigating the organization, control, circulation of resources, and modalities of negotiation, one can unravel the power dynamics of public and private stakeholders in a given city. Nour further seeks to expand the existing modes of cartographic investigations in ways that can allow her to visualize the informal and rely on cartography and visual investigation as a method of research.
Thesis Supervisors: Cassidy Johnson, Mona Fawaz, Camillo Boano
Mohamad El Chamaa (Master of Urban Planning and Policy, AUB - defended in 2022)
Mohamad's thesis explores urban recovery through social interest zoning, focusing on the case of Karantina, Beirut.
Thesis Committee: Howayda Al-Harithy (adv.), Mona Fawaz, Mona Harb
Ranime Nahle (Master of Urban Design, AUB - defended in 2021)
Thesis Title: Activating Public Life in Neighborhoods though Soft Mobility and a Network of Open Spaces: The Case of Badaro, Beirut
Thesis Committee: Mona Harb (adv.), Mona Fawaz, Serge Yazigi
Rania Nouaihed (Master of Urban Planning and Policy, AUB - defended in 2021)
Thesis Title: Vacant Properties as Opportunities to Enhance Neighborhood Public Life: The Case of Badaro, Beirut
Thesis Committee: Mona Harb (adv.), Mona Fawaz, Serge Yazigi
Hannah Sender (PhD. in Planning Studies, University College London - defended in 2023)Hannah is a Research Fellow at Beirut Urban Lab and University College London. Her research focuses are rapid urban change, displacement, adolescence and urban futures. She conducts qualitative research in Lebanon and the UK. Her PhD thesis examined rapid urban change of small towns in Lebanon which are affected by forced migration, from the perspectives of young residents. At the Lab, Hannah supports data analysis and dissemination, and works primarily within the Beirut Urban Observatory. In her other roles, Hannah focuses on health inequities and mental health in urban settings.
Majd Al-Shehabi (Master of Urban Planning and Policy, AUB - defended in 2021)
Thesis Title: Agent-Based Modelling of the Real Estate Market in Beirut: The Effect of Vacancy Tax as a Case Study
Thesis Committee: Ibrahim Alameddine (adv.), Mona Fawaz, Ahmad Gharbieh, David Robinson