Habitat Unit

Senior Researcher

Dr. Somaiyeh Falahat 

Somaiyeh Falahat


Habitat Unit, Room A 622 
T + 49 – 30 – 314 – 21908
F + 49 – 30 – 314 – 21907

Curriculum Vitae

Somaiyeh Falahat received her doctoral degree in the theory of architecture and the city from the Brandenburg University of Technology, Germany. Her doctoral thesis, 'Islamic cities' and the question of Labyrinthinity, studies different perceptions and representations of space in the discourse connected with 'Islamic cities', borrowing the spatial concept of Hezar-Too from literature studies in order to open new frontiers in conceptualising the logic of space ordering in Isfahan in the 16th-17th centuries. Her primary research interests lay in the theory, culture and history of city, and contemporary formation of spatial arrangement at a micro urban scale with specific reference to MENA and European cities. The production of space ordering in diverse spatialisations ranging from the material to the virtual, and the ways they have been understood, represented and verbalised in different sociocultural settings, are the focus of her recent research. In line with this she is also interested in the bottom-up dynamics of contemporary city-making at the scale of the neighbourhood.

Somaiyeh authored the book 'Re-imaging the city' (Springer, 2014), published a number of essays in refereed journals such as Urban History (Cambridge), Cities, Planning Perspectives, International Journal of Architectural Research (Archnet) and International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, and has received research, postdoctoral and seed grants from the German Federal Foreign Office, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Gerda Henkel Foundation, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, German Academic Exchange Service and Presidential Office of Berlin University of Technology. She has also been a visiting fellow / scholar at Newcastle University and Oxford Brookes University.

She has taught and co-led international workshops in the field of urban and architectural culture and theory, contemporary formation of cities and urban morphology. In addition, she initiated the international exchange programme, Participatory Urban Regeneration, which aimed at re-conceptualising community-based urban actions at the neighbourhood scale through case studies in four cities: Berlin, Cairo, Istanbul and Tehran. She also sits on the scientific board of the fellowship project, Mahalle meets Stadtquartier, Berlin, Istanbul, Rabat and Tehran.

Employment History+

Since 2013
Researcher and Lecturer
Habitat Unit, TU Berlin

2011 – 2013
Researcher and Lecturer
Institut of Architecture, TU Berlin,
Center for Technology and Society

2007 – 2010
Brandenburg University of Technology

Research Projects+

2014 – 2015
(Re)production of Space Ordering (Principal investigator)

2013 – 2014, 2016
Theorising the Urban Form of Medina– Fez, Isfahan, Tunis (Principal investigator)

2013 – 2015
Participatory Urban Regeneration– Berlin, Cairo, Istanbul and Tehran (Initiator and scientist in charge)

2011 – 2013
Regional Urban Prototypes (with a focus on Iranian cities), Research Fellow

2007 – 2010
Diverse projects on transformation and culture of cities with a specific reference to MENA and European cities; Brandenburg University of Technology (Research Assistant)

Teaching Activities+

2013, 2014
Berlin University of Technology
Courses: Re-visiting participation; Participatory decision-making processes; Stories of Formality, Narratives of informality in Istanbul; Formation, deterioration and regeneration of unplanned neighbourhoods in Cairo; Community mapping and neighbourhood regeneration in Tehran. 

2007 – 2011
Brandenburg University of Technology, Teaching assistant
Courses: Kulture der Stadt (Culture of the City), Visuelle Vermittlung: Analyse und Interpretation (Visual Intervention: Analyzing and Interpreting), ‘Islamic cities’



(2014) Re-imaging the city, towards a new conceptualisation of urban logic of ‘Islamic city’ Wiesbaden. Springer.

(2013) New town versus old town: a study on the urban form and energy efficiency Berlin. Universitätsverlag der TU Berlin (Booklet)


Book contributions

(forthcoming) Facilitator offices: a participatory tool for regenerating degraded areas? In: Dienel, H., Shirazi, R., Schröder, S., eds. Citizen Participation in Urban Development of the Islamic World, Ashgate. (co-authored)

(2013) Energy efficient micro-urban prototypes. In: Eltrop, L., Tesling, T., eds. Energy and Sun, Berlin. Jovis Verlag, 140-153.

(2013) Simulation of Reference Halls in Iran. In: Bohm, A., Frank, U., eds. Architectural Progression, a Handbook, Berlin. Universitätsverlag der TU Berlin, 101-104.


Refereed articles

(2015) Urban oasis, towards a prototype for sustainable urbanity: the case of Tehran. International Journal of Society Systems Science. (co-authored)

(2015) Spatial fragmentation and bottom-up appropriation in Safavid Isfahan. Urban History, vol. 42, no.1, 3-21. (co-authored)

(2014) Context-based conceptions in urban morphology: Hezar-Too, an original urban logic? Cities, no. 36, 50-57.

(2013) Sustainable urban regeneration: an ongoing discourse. Haft-Shahr, Journal of the Iranian Urban Development and Revitalization Organization, no. 37, 165-175.

(2012) New urban developments in Safavid Isfahan, continuity or disjuncture?, Planning Perspectives, vol. 27, no. 4, 611-624. (co-authored)

(2012) Nizams: the hidden syntax under the surface, towards a new understanding of urban morphology in Middle Eastern and North African Cities. IJAR, International Journal of Architectural Research, vol. 6, issue 1, 90-99. 

(2012) Compact urban form, question or solution? Examining the compact city in the Middle Eastern context: challenges and opportunities, International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, vol. 4, no. 2, 246-259. (co-authored)

(2011) Building the concept of ‘Islamic City’. Journal of Studies on Iranian-Islamic City, vol. 3, Spring 2011, 45-56. (in Persian)

(2010) From Labyrinth to Hezar-Too, two different interpretations of complexity in city. Armanshahr International Journal, vol. 3, spring & summer 2010, 57-69. (in Persian)

Invited Lectures (selection)+

(2014) People and City, Alternative Discourses in Urban Planning, National School of Architecture Rabat, Rabat, Morocco

(2013) Some examples from MENA cities, Appropriating Formality by Informality, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey

(2013) Participatory Urban Regeneration in Cairo, Istanbul and Tehran, German Science Center, Cairo, Egypt

(2013) City: A Collaborative Design? Design Studio Talks, German University in Cairo, Berlin, Germany

(2012) Urban Morphology and Building Energy Consumption (poster-presentation), International Conference Urban Change in Iran, University College London, UK

(2012) Sustainability in the megacities of MENA region, 32nd International Geographical Congress, Cologne, Germany.

(2011) The Necessity of an Integrated Monitoring System in the Tehran-Karaj Urban Region, The 2011 International Conference on Sustainable Development, Shanghai, China 

(2011) Spatial Defragmentation and Social Appropriation, notes on Safavid Urban Developments in 17th century Isfahan, The City: 2nd International Conference, Vancouver, Canada