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Supervisor: Dr Nicholas Simcik Arese


Research overview:

Post-disaster urban reconstruction is a critical topic in urban areas that suffer from conflict and natural hazards. Recovery is becoming more complex, especially in light of rapid urbanisation, the climate change crisis and the continued global political unrest. The conventional top-down framework for urban recovery has proven to be inefficient as it does not put citizens’ interests and local capacities at the forefront of recovery. Practitioners have started to rethink a shift to a more collaborative and participatory approach to lead the recovery of destroyed cities. The creation of digital participation platforms for Urban Planning and the advancement in construction technologies like Building Information Modelling (BIM) has opened the door to adopting a participatory framework based on stakeholders’ engagement. Until now, digital urban planning has not been examined or assessed as a driving strategy for post-disaster reconstruction, especially in developing countries. This research investigates the transformative potential of e-participatory urban planning and collaborative design tools like BIM in the post-disaster scenario of Syria. The research starts with a critical analysis of digital e-participatory platforms and BIM and then departs to investigate using these digital tools and platforms to engage Syrian architects and practitioners and displaced Syrians in the post-disaster context of Damascus.



Karam is a Cambridge Trust scholar and recipient of the Institute of Ismaili Studies scholarship. He holds an MPhil in Architecture and Urban Studies. His research focuses on post-disaster urban reconstruction, informality rebuilding and the role of Architecture and Digital Urban Planning in recovery. He supervised architecture students at the University of Cambridge and Al-Baath University. Before his doctoral studies, he worked with the Aga Khan Development Network and WFP and designed the humanitarian aid distribution site in Salamiyah, Syria.