Keynote speakers

Diversity and Cultural Tapestry as a Catalyst for Creative Architecture and Urbanism:
The Case of Middle East and Gulf Cities

Prof. Ali A. Alraouf is an architect and urban designer with 35 years of academic, research and consultancy experience around the Middle East, and the world. He is interested in research and practice related to architectural, urban and sustainable people-based design and architecture. He was a Visiting Scholar at University of California at Berkeley-USA. Alraouf’s research interests are post-carbon architecture and urbanism in the Gulf, inclusivity and diversity in contemporary cities, knowledge and creative cities, democratic public spaces and just cities, museums' architecture and Doha's architectural and urban model. He published more than 130 journal refereed papers, critical reviews, essays, in addition to books and book chapters. He serves in editorial boards and acts as a reviewer for international journals and conferences. He has been invited to present his research work at international institutions in over 30 countries such as UC Berkeley, University of Cambridge, Drury University, University of Oregon, International University in Malaysia, American University of Beirut, and American University in Sharjah. He is the recipient of number of awards including Modern Science and Arts University (MSA) Teaching Excellence Award 2004, Best Research Paper in Sharjah International Conference for Urban Planning 2008, Research Publication Achievement Award from University of Bahrain 2009, 2012 Excel campaign at Qatar University, Best Research Paper in IASTE Conference 2018 and Best Book Award by ISOCARP in 2018. Alraouf is currently acts as head of research and development at Qatar Urban Planning Dept., a Board member in the international society of city planners and leader of Green Urbanism and Planning Group at Qatar Green Building Council.

Indigenous Knowledge and the Presumption of the Privileged

Saija Hollmén is a Professor of Practice in Humanitarian Architecture and Vice Dean for Art and Creative Practices at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. She holds a doctoral degree in architecture, her research interest covering topics of cross-cultural design practices and interdisciplinary pedagogies in higher education. She is a co-founder of the interdisciplinary Aalto WiTLAB (Aalto World in Transition Research LAB), which focuses on global sustainability and humanitarian challenges. She is responsible of the Interplay of Cultures program, based at the Department of Architecture, dealing with architectural design and planning in cultures outside Europe. Hollmén is a co-founder of Hollmén Reuter Sandman Architects and Ukumbi NGO, which aims at providing architectural services for communities in need. Ukumbi has projects in several African countries, seeking to improve the lives of the less privileged. Their work has been widely exhibited, e.g, in the Venice Biennale in 2002, 2004 and 2016. Ukumbi was also awarded the Finnish State Award for Art in 2009 for its work for culturally sensitive and respectful architecture.

The Negotiation of Space and Rights: Ethnic Place-Making Amidst Diversity

Dr. Zhixi Zhuang is a Registered Professional Planner and an Associate Professor at Ryerson University’s School of Urban and Regional Planning. Her research focuses on ethnocultural diversity, migration and cities, and ethnic placemaking. Specifically, she explores the lived experiences of immigrant and racialized communities, their strategies for cultural recognition, and negotiations for social, economic, political, and spatial inclusion. Her research addresses the impacts of global migration on local governance and inclusive community-building, and sheds light on equity-based approaches to planning and design with diversity.