The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Nihal Ossama Hafez


Name: Nihal Ossama Hafez
Nationality: Egyptian
Thesis: (Re)Configuring Downtown Cairo: Between Heritage Revitalization and Real Estate Development 
Key Topics: Politics of Heritage – Cairo – Urban Governance

I am an architect and urban researcher interested in urban development and heritage practices in the Middle East generally and in Cairo particularly. I am currently a Ph.D. candidate at the DPU studying the politics of heritage practices in Cairo.

My background intersects academic teaching and research with architecture, urban design and heritage conservation practice. Prior to my Ph.D., I worked as an Assistant Lecturer at the Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University where I taught architecture and urban studies, and took on roles as Conference/Workshop Organiser, Graduation Project Coordinator and Lead Rapporteur.  I also worked at the UN-Habitat’s Egypt Urban Forum (EUF) and was a member as well as lead rapporteur of the “Gender Equity of Cities in the MENA Region Seminar Series” funded by the Urban Studies Foundation (USF) Seminar Series Award, 2018 cycle. Besides working in academia, I was involved in architectural conservation and community development projects in Cairo.

In my Ph.D., I aim to explore the use of heritage as a tool for power through its mode of operation and governance from the lens of critical heritage studies. I target working on Downtown Cairo – the colonial 19th century center of Cairo and the 2011 revolution birthplace. I focus particularly on a newly introduced pattern for heritage revitalization in Cairo that depends on the integration of real estate companies in heritage areas development and conservation processes. Dealing with heritage as a public good, I question the impact of the real estate injection, as an actor, on the area and on its heritage and memory.

In my spare time, I enjoy reading, watching movies, walking, and exploring new places.

Primary supervisor: Catalina Ortiz
Secondary Supervisor: Barbara Lipietz

Web profiles:
https://twitter.com/NihalOHafez  – @NihalOHafez
Languages: Arabic (native language) – French – English