The Vital City


Professor Howayda Al-Harithy


Howayda Al-Harithy is Professor of Architecture at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. Her research in Islamic art and architecture focuses on the Mamluk period, and engages theoretical models of interpretation, particularly post-structuralist models, as analytic tools of the production of architectural and urban space. Her more recent research focuses on urban heritage with special emphasis on the theoretical debate on heritage construction and consumption related to identity building and post-war reconstruction. Her professional engagements have recently focused on two projects she is leading: the Urban Sustainable Development Strategy for Saida in Lebanon and the Central Area Plan for al-Madina al-Munawara in Saudi Arabia.

Professor Camillo Boano


Professor Camillo Boano is an architect, urbanist and educator. He is Professor of Urban Design and Critical Theory with over 20 years of experience in research, design consultancies and development work in South America, Middle East, Eastern Europe and South East Asia. His research is centred on the encounters between critical theory, urban and architectural design processes and informal and contested urbanisms as well as the different spaces of humanitarian actions and post conflict interventions.

Dr Fouad M. Fouad


Fouad M. Foaud, MD, is Assistant Research Professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences, and Co-Director of the Refugee Health Program, Global Health Initiative (GHI), American University of Beirut. His research focuses on refugees' health and the Syrian refugee crisis, including displacement inside Syria and the neighbouring countries. Dr Fouad currently serves as commissioner on two Lancet Commissions; AUB Lancet Commission: Syria and the crises in global governance, health and aid, and UCL-Lancet Commission on Migration and Health.


Professor Nick Tyler


Professor Nick Tyler is Chadwick Professor of Civil Engineering at UCL. His work investigate the ways in which people interact with their immediate environments, for which he created the multisensorial Person-Activity-Environment Research Laboratory, which is part of the UK Government's CoLaboratorium for Research on Cities and Infrastructure. He set up the Accessibility Research Group within the UCL Centre for Transport Studies, which investigates accessibility and public transport.


Dr Nasser Yassin


Dr Nasser Yassin is the Director of Research at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, and Professor of Policy and Planning at the Health Management and Policy Department at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. His research and practice interests are in development planning and policy-making, in countries experiencing transition and post-conflict situations.


Ms. Joana Dabaj

Research Collaborator

Joana Dabaj is an architect and urban designer. She is co-founder and principal coordinator at CatalyticAction, a charity based in London that works to empower communities through strategic and innovative spatial interventions. She has valuable experience in architecture in development, sustainable design, cultural heritage, migration and human rights in the Middle East. Her recent work revolves around working closely with displaced and host communities in Lebanon to develop inclusive educational spaces; this includes participatory planning, design and implementation of playgrounds, public spaces and schools.

Dr Hanna Baumann - UCL Institute for Global Prosperity

Post-Doctoral Research Associate

Dr Hanna Baumann is the Postdoctoral Research Associate on the British Academy-funded project ‘Public services and vulnerability in the Lebanese context of large-scale displacement’. Hanna completed her PhD at the Centre for Urban Conflicts Research, Cambridge in 2017. Her research is concerned with questions of urban inclusion and participation expressed at the intersection of global and local scales.

Dr Harriet Allsopp

Research Collaborator

Harriet Allsopp is a freelance consultant and Middle East area specialist, with a particular focus on Syria and its neighbours. She holds an MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Oxford, and a PhD in Politics and MRes in Political Theory from Birkbeck College, the University of London. Her recent research has focused on social and political organisation around identity, representation and access to services. As well as tracking local responses to the Syrian uprising Harriet has looked in detail at the socio-economic foundations of political parties and at how identity, ideology and governance structures interact and shape local organisation. She is the author of the The Kurds of Syria: Political Parties and Identity in the Middle East (I. B. Tauris, 2014).