Dr Elahe Karimnia

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About me

I joined UWE in February 2022 as Lecturer in Critical Urban Practice. I am an interdisciplinary scholar and urbanist/architect who has worked with both public and private sectors in different cities of both the global north and the global south.

My passion is in enhancing the public life of cities while embracing emerging forms of publicness in everyday life. This requires a critical and creative approach to urban design, alternative forms of urban and civic practices, and speculative practices that are of sustainable, radical, and ultimately transformative. While sustainability is discussed at the core of planning and design of the built environment, I am always interested in its interpretation and implementation, specially the realities of the politics involved in the design process.

Prior to joining UWE, I was the Associate in Urban Research and Spatial Practice at Theatrum Mundi, a pioneering non-profit research centre based in London and Paris which aims to expand the crafts of city-making through collaboration between artists, architects and urbanists. I was responsible for research and writings on 'Urban Backstages' an examination behind-the-scenes of the making of cultural infrastructure and overall cultural planning. I was also involved in 'Choreographing the City' project which offers innovative set of interdisciplinary methods towards the spatial design of (im)mobility in cities.

I have been involved in teaching both design studios and seminar classes at different master programmes such as the MA Cities programme at Central Saint Martins in London since 2021, the MSc in Sustainable Urban Planning and Design programme at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm from 2016-2020, and the MSc in Urbanism Studies at KTH from 2016-2018. The teaching included urban theory seminars and studios in collaboration with Urban Think Tank (U-TT Design Group) and TU Berlin.

I was awarded a Ph.D. from the School of Architecture and Built Environment at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. In my doctoral research, I explored the gaps between design intentions, implementations, and subsequent appropriations of public spaces in the Swedish cities. My thesis, "Producing Publicness," articulates a productive dialogue between architects, spatial planners and users of public spaces as a dialectical approach. I have a Masters in Sustainable Urban Planning and Design from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, and a Masters in Architecture from Tehran, where I worked as an architect for several years.

I am available to supervise PhD students on topics relating to urban planning and design in connection with designers' role, design consequnces [socio-ecological impact], as well as alternative spatial practices.

Area of expertise

- Practice-led research methodologies; - Collaborative and trans-disciplinary research across performing art and urbanism; - Dialectical thinking as a critical tool for urban design; - Temporary urban practices: aesthetics and influences; - Designing publicness; - Equitable Futures


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