Habitat Unit

Senior Researcher

Dr. Hassan Elmouelhi 


Room A 409
T + 49 – 30 – 314 – 21908
F + 49 – 30 – 314 – 21907

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Hassan Elmouelhi has been a senior researcher at the Habitat Unit since September 2014. Hassan studied architecture at Cairo University before pursuing his diploma in Berlin. In 2014, he completed his doctoral degree with a research paper entitled 'Culture and informal urban development. The case of Cairo Ashwa’eyat – informal settlements' at the TU Berlin. 

Hassan Elmouelhi’s research focuses on culture and informal urban settlements, residents’ socio-cultural aspects, patterns of use in urban space, power relations within communities in an informal urban development context.

Supported by BMBF research funding from the (German Egyptian research fund) at the TU Berlin, he is currently a team member in a research project that investigates the priorities of urban development in Cairo’s informal settlements in a range of local initiatives and international cooperation projects.

Hassan Elmouelhi teaches on the international Urban development master’s course (Campus El-Gouna) as well as several master’s courses in Architecture and Urban Design. He has a wide range of experiences from working in ar­chitecture and planning offices with a special focus on the MENA region. He has also experience in conducting fieldwork in different contexts using qualitative research methods.


2008 – 2014
Doctorate of Engineering (Dr.-Ing.), TU Berlin
(Thesis) Culture and Informal Urban Development. The Case of Cairo’s ‘Ashwa’eyat (Informal Settlements). (Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Peter Herrle, Prof. Dr. Sonja Nebel).

2000 – 2006
Master of Science in Architectural Engineering (M.Sc.)
(Thesis) Between Culture and Development: Understanding Using Culture to Serve Development Process through Architectural Programming: A Case Study of El Azhar Park and El Darb El Ahmar District. (Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Nagwa Sherif; Prof. Dr. Sawsan Helmy).

1994 – 1998
Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch hons), Cairo University, Faculty of Engineering, Architectural Engineering Department

Employment History+

Since 2014
Associate Researcher
Habitat Unit, TU Berlin
Urban Development Master Program, Campus El Gouna 

2003 – 2008
Misr International University (MIU), Faculty of Engineering, Architecture department, Cairo, Egypt

Research Projects+

2021 – 2022
BRICK!: Building Refugees Integration through Urban Development and Social Work

2018 – 2020
NEIGHMADA: Neighborhood Management in Hurghada

2018 - 2019
All Inclusive Studio, Egypt


2016 – 2019
RealCityLab: Practice-orientation in architectural Education, Habitat Unit-TU Berlin, Funded by BMZ and DAAD

2014 – 2016
Development Priorities in Informal Areas: Planning, Realization and Local Perceptions (DEVEPER), Habitat Unit, TU Berlin

2008 – 2014
Doctoral Dissertation
(Thesis) Culture and Informal Urban Development. The Case of Cairo’s ‘Ashwa’eyat (Informal Settlements). (Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Peter Herrle; Prof. Dr. Sonja Nebel).

RCL, Egypt

Urban Mobility-Hurghada, Egypt

Vulnerable Urban Areas, Tunisia

Delta city planning, Egypt

Teaching Activities+

WS 2014
Integrated Case study module (ICS), within master’s programme: Integrated urbanism and sustainable design (IUSD), Ain Shams University and Stuttgart University, Cairo, Egypt 

WS 2013
Working and living in Loehmuelen Island, Kreuzberg. Co-Lecturer, Urban and Architecture Design Studio, German University in Cairo, Berlin Campus

2003 – 2008
Assistant Lecturer and Lecturer
Graduation Project, Architectural and Urban Design Studio in several cities, International Workshop and Field Trip in the fields of Urban Planning and Design (funded by DAAD)

Dresden Technical University, Germany
University of Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein
Bary Polytechnic University, Italy
American University in Sharjah, Sharjah/Dubai



(2014) Culture and Informal Urban Development. The Case of Cairo’s ‘Ashwa’eyat (Informal Settlements). Berlin: Velag Dr. Koester.


Book contributions

(2013) Culture and Identity in Cairo Urban Development. A Case Study of Cairo's Informal Settlements. Anicka Seifert. Global City-Local Identity? Pp. 100-113, Goethe Institute, Tanzania, Dar Essalam.

(2010) Guest Comment: Understanding Culture in Cairo's Informal Settlements. In: Josefine Fokdal, Carsten Zehner, Improving Informal Areas in Greater Cairo. The Case of Ezzbet Al Nasr & Dayer El Nahia. Urban Management Masters Program, Technische Universität Berlin, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit GmbH, Berlin, p.93-99. 


Other articles and publications

with M. Alfiky, L.Born, P. Misselwitz, M. Salheen (2017) Development Priorities in Cairo's Informal Areas - Planing, Realisation, and Local Perceptions. Trialog 122.

(2013) Revolution, political transformation and urban space in 'Ezbet El-Haggana'. Cairobserver.

(2012) Revolution, political transformation and urban space in 'Ezbet El-Haggana' Cairo informal area. Maghreb in motion, ArchiAfrika newsletter.


Conference Proceedings

(2006) The Impact of Architectural / Urban Intervention on Community: Culture, Development and Urbanism. Architecture, Urbanism and Culture. Ain Shams University: 301-309.

(2006) The role of architectural programming in controlling the development process of communities having distinguished cultures (in Arabic). Proceedings of the Third International Conference, ArchCairo 2006: Appropriating Architecture Taming Urbanism in the Decades of Transformation. Cairo: Cairo University, Faculty of Engineering, 211-226.

(2006) Understanding Users Culture: A Method Intended to Serve Developmental Processes through Architectural Programming. In: Tolba, Mostafa K.; Abdel-Hadi, Aleya; Soliman, Salah; ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.


Conference Papers

with Azzurra Sarnataro (2015) Questioning terminology in urban studies: the concept of ezba in Cairo’s informality. Poster presentation, BIC2015, Berlin.

with Azzurra Sarnataro (2015) Towards considering Residents’ Culture in Urban Development Interventions: The Case of Informal Settlements of Cairo. The Transformation of the Urban Character of Arab Cities Since Late last Century, Bermingham City University and German Jordanian University, Amman, Jordan.

with Azzurra Sarnataro (2014) Addressing Communities of Cairo’s Ashwa’eyat-Informal Areas: from the 'myth of marginality' to the 'myth of participation'? With Special Focus on Children and Women of Ezbet El-Haggana. ARCH06 Responsive Urbanism in Informal Areas, UN Habitat.

with Oguz, M. (2013) Informality, Culture, and Informal Urban Development: a Comparative Study between Cairo and Istanbul. RC21 Conference: Resourceful Cities, Humboldt-University Berlin, Institute for Social Science, Dept. for Urban and Regional Sociology. Berlin.

with Safey El Deen (2009) Them and Us – Towards Incorporating the Concept of 'the Other', Between Cairo Subcultures: An Educational Approach. The 5th International Conference at Department of Architecture in Cairo University, Cairo.


Conference panel chairs

with Prof. Ingrid Breckner, David Sims, Anna-Lisa Müller (2013) Panel discussion on Urban Landscapes – Changing City Spaces. The Cairo Case. Space for Transformations. Goethe Institute, Berlin.

with Dr. Dr. Fatima M. Al-Namari (2014) Targeting Adolescence Vandalism in a Refugee Camp: A Community Based Initiative from Talbije Camp, Jordan. Community Based Urban Violence Prevention (U-CARE) at the Global Urban Studies (GLOBUS) Institute, Berlin.


Convened summer schools

(2014) Cultural landscapes and urban resilience. The case of Cairo informal settlements. Institute for European Urban Studies (IfEU), Weimar, Bauhaus University.

(2011) The New Urban Revolution Cairo, Ain Shams University, department of urban planning and design.

Invited Lectures+

(2014) Urban informality and culture in the daily life of Cairo Megacity. Presentation at Lange Nacht Der Wissenschaft (Long night of science), TU Berlin.

(2013) Culture and informal urban development in Cairo. (with special focus on revolution) Course: Beyond Tahrir: Eine politische Ethnografie Kairos, Free University Berlin, Prof. Cilja Harders.

(2012) Lecture within the IUSD, Integrated urbanism and sustainable development, master’s programme, Ain Shams University and Stuttgart University .

(2010 - 2012) Cairo city, urban development and culture - an introduction, within the courses: Global Cities, Local Space, Urban Paradigms, Urban Management Master Program, TU Berlin.

(2011) Workshop on Cairo informal areas, Cologne University of Applied Sciences, Institute for Technology and Resource Management in the Tropics and Subtropics.

(2010) Categorization of informal settlements in Cairo and elaboration of appropriate upgrading strategies. (Design and delivery of a field study project with Urban Management graduate students/young professionals), GTZ, Participatory Development Programme in Urban Areas, Cairo and Urban Management Programme, TU Berlin.

(2010) Cairo culture and urban development. Global cities, local identities Symposium, Goethe institut, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

Grants, Awards, and Fellowships+

awarded to participate in the summer school India: Sustainable Habitat Development in India-III, Cutchi urban development

2009 – 2014
DAAD / GERLS (German Egyptian Research Longterm Scholarship)
awarded for doctoral thesis: Culture and informal urban development. The case study of Cairo’s ‘ashwa’eyat (informal settlements)