Sara Abdelaal CV

Sara Abdelaal

Sara is a PhD candidate in the Graduate School for Urban Studies (URBANgrad) at the Technical University in Darmstadt, Germany. Sara has been working on her doctoral thesis since October 2015. She holds a bachelor's degree in Architecture from El Shorouk Academy; Higher Institute for Engineering in Cairo, Egypt and a master's degree in Urban Management from Technical University in Berlin, Germany. Her master thesis focused on Rural urban linkages for a sustainable urbanization patterns in Oman, focusing on the case of Fanja. After her Master Sara worked as a research assistant in Berlin on the research Project: “Sustainable Urbanization Patterns in Oman”, carried out by GUtech (German university of Technology in Muscat) and SQU (Sultan Qabous University). Currently she is trying to combine her experience in Architecture and Urban management focusing on an Urban Design related topic. In her PhD research, she is focusing on the socio-spatial transformation of Contemporary Public Space in Cairo, since 2011 and the role of Bottom-up Urbanism in this transformation process. The title of her thesis is; “Public Space in Contemporary Cairo; urban design, social interactions and Bottom-up Urbanism”

PhD Project

Public space is playing an increasingly important role in Greater Cairo City. Since the uprising of 2011, public space is getting more attention by scholars, planners, government bodies and city dwellers.

Since the 1960s public space has witnessed major changes in its use, form and value. This process of change in public space was accelerated in the 1980s since the adoption of Neoliberal economic policies, where public space has declined, privatized and its social meaning weakened. Keeping an eye on the current socio-political changes, especially the rise of a globally connected civil society in Cairo; this research will focus on the ongoing socio-spatial transformation process of public space that started since 2011 in Cairo city. This research will try to understand the way by which public space is being produced seeking to answer the questions of how did the socio-spatial transformation of public space in Cairo took place since 2011. In order to understand the newly counter socio-spatial transformation process that is occurring in Cairo city the research will seek to answer the questions of how far are the current Bottom-up forces affecting the reproduction of public space in Cairo? Hence, the aim is to understand the new bottom-up urbanism process as an alternative approach by which public space can be managed and re-appropriated in order to perform as a vital catalyst that helps Cairenes in regaining their absent sense of belonging to their city and thus solve some of Cairo's urban development challenges.

University Studies and Degrees

Since 10/2015 Doctoral Studies (Fachbereich Architektur, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany)
10/2011-03/2013 Master of Science in Urban Management, Technical University in Berlin, Berlin
10/2005-07/2010 Bachelor of Engineering in Architecture
El Shorouk Academy; high institute for Engineering),

Professional Experiences

03/2010-10/2013 Research Assistant, Research Project: Sustainable Urbanization Patterns in Oman, carried out by: GUtech German university of Technology and SQU Sultan Qabous University
04/2012 Student consultant, Case study project 2012: Emerging towns and municipalities in Nepal: Rapid development concepts Carried out by: TU Berlin and GIZ(Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH)
10/2010-03/2011 Architect, at Engineer Hussein Sabbour consulting Bureau in Cairo, Department: Architectural Design

Talks and Conferences

International Conference: “21st Century Challenges for Urbanization in the Arab Gulf Countries” April 2014 in Muscat, Oman


Participant in Book: EDs. Fokdal, J. and Schöneberg, G. 2013 “Emerging Towns and Municipalities in Nepal: Rapid Development Concepts”, Technische Universität Berlin. (ISBN 978-3-9812769-3-0)

(Forthcoming) Participant in Book: “Sustainable Urbanization Patterns in Oman” under the title Rural -urban interface in Oman Edited by Prof. Sonja Nebel etal


Graduate School for Urban Studies (URBANgrad), Technische Universität Darmstadt