This week we welcome our new students for the 2019-20 term. Our new class, as all of our students, have very diverse backgrounds and come from many different countries.  As our curriculum continues to evolve, here is what is in store for the upcoming academic year.

New Professors

We pride ourselves on our prestigious roster of renowned international professors from the field of humanitarian architecture and design and the emergency and development sectors. This year we are delighted to announce that the following experts are joining our team of visiting professors.

Ian Davis

Ian is an architect and has studied disasters since 1972. His initial focus on Shelter following Disaster has expanded to Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery and Climate Change Adaptation. Ian has authored, co-authored or edited 16 books and over 90 articles including the first study of Shelter after Disaster in 1978 and the first UN Guidelines on this subject (1982) (Second Edition: 2015). He has been on the Board of four NGO’s including Tearfund and was a founder director of Traidcraft, a leading Fair Trade organisation. In 1996 he was awarded the UN Sasakawa Award for his ‘contribution to International Disaster Prevention’. During his career he has been to over 45 disaster sites , some being long term longitudinal studies to determine the long-term impact of reconstruction efforts. He is Visiting Professor in Kyoto, Lund and Oxford Brookes Universities. Ian also gave the keynote presentation at our 10 year anniversary last May, and he will be with our students to talk about the topic “Humanitarian Shelter & Settlements”

Ebru Gencer

Ebru has a Ph.D (2007) and MPhil from the Urban Planning Program at Columbia University. Founding Executive Director of the Center for Urban Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience (CUDRR+R), a non-profit research center based in New York City. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University; Co-Chair of the Urban Planning Advisory Group (UPAG) to the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on Disaster Risk Reduction; and a member of the Steering Committees of the Making Cities Resilient Campaign and the Global Alliance for Urban Crises. Ebru will be a thesis supervisor this year and will teach an introductory course on disaster recovery implementation.

Gaja Maestri

Gaja is a Political Sociologist and Human Geographer, PhD at Durham University (UK). Lecturer in Sociology and Policy, Aston University (Birmingham, UK). Her work addresses questions of migration and civil society organisations, with a specific attention to the urban dimension. Her recent research has focused on solidarity towards refugees in Europe and on housing access of migrants and Roma groups, with a particular interest in how political initiatives and mobilisations intersect with the making of spatial inclusion and exclusion. She has been involved with NGOs and think tanks working on racist discrimination and gender. Gaja is teaching on the topic of “Camps, politics, and space: Complexities and ambiguities of segregation”.

Gonzalo Lizarralde

Gonzalo is a specialist in planning, management and evaluation of international architecture projects. He is the holder of the Chair Fayolle-Magil Construction in architecture, construction and sustainability and also the director of the IF Research Group (grif) at the Université de Montréal, which studies the processes related to the planning and development of construction projects. He is the leader of the Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Reconstruction Research Alliance, a scientific research program funded by the Quebec research funds (FQRSC) and a founding member of i-Rec, an international network for improving post-disaster reconstruction. Gonzalo will bet teaching on the topic of “Unnatural Disasters: Controversies in Low-Cost Housing and Post-Disaster Reconstruction”.

Our list of guest professors this year furthermore includes Nabeel Hamdi. Alejandro Haiek, Isabelle Anguelovski, Sergio Palleroni, Verónica Sánchez and Gonzalo Sánchez-Terán, Alejandro de Castro and Clara Irazabal.

Returning Alumni

Alumni Rosanna Poblet (class of 2010-11) is an urban-environmental specialist with over 20 years of experience. She has been actively involved with informal urban transformation processes in contested and post-conflict regions in the Americas, Africa and Europe. Her expertise includes co-designing socio-environmental strategies to revert environmental injustices in the so-called global South. She is a visiting lecturer in different global universities, a CIM-GIZ expert and lives between Berlin and Lima. Rosanna will take our students on their field trip to Peru. Find out more about the trip in the section below.

Former student Nerea Amorós (class of 2010-2011) has just finished her PhD with UCL (Bartlett School of Architecture), investigating the extent to which encamped refugee children aged 3 to 6 are learning from the built environment they live in. She is based in Rwanda and will come to her hometown Barcelona for her workshop with our students about Refugee Integration during the Introduction to Emergency and Development course.

Field trip to Peru

After our field trips to Chamanga, Ecuador, and Thessaloniki, Greece, we have a new destination this year: Piura in Peru. Our students will travel to Peru from January 19-31, to work on ‘Integrated nature-based solutions for post-disaster recovery through public space design”.

In March 2017 the natural phenomenum known as ‘El Niño costero’ caused intense rains, causing flooding and disasters in Pedregales in Piura, causing 3000 people to loose their homes. Three years later, the population of this area is still waiting for the government of Perú to solve their housing problem. In collaboration with our local partner, the Universidad de Piura, our workshop will contribute to the reconstruction plan of the area with specific strategies for the improvement and design of open spaces and children play areas. The objective is to develop a pilot project in an allocated open space area that includes a conceptual study at a landscape scale, a detailed analysis at a neighbourhood scale, the elaboration of a participatory process with the objective of creating a Memory Park for Pedregal, Piura, and the construction of the first phase of the park and children’s play area.


Images: Piura, Peru, after the floods in March, 2017; Ministerio de Defensa del Perú (Creative Commons Licensed)

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