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Fadi Shayya

Previous education

  • MA in Theories of Urban Practice (Honours), 2016, The New School
  • Master of Urban Design (with committee praise), 2007, American University of Beirut
  • Bachelor of Architectural Engineering, 2002, Beirut Arab University

Thesis title

Material Politics of De/Militarization: Transfer of Military Technology and the Scripting of the Urban

Research profile

My doctoral research investigates the actualizations of military strategy in/through urban contexts and the extent of the demilitarization gap within the transfer of military technology to law enforcement agencies in the U.S. I focus on following the social life of the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles as they circulate from the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan to U.S. urbanities.

Research details

I am an urbanist and architect researching sociotechnical relations and urban assemblages through transdisciplinary approaches. I am interested in generating an architectural research practice by intersecting fields of urban studies, science and technology studies, and security studies, and by engaging design with anthropology, engineering, public policy, operations research, project management, and military science. This is my current PhD project at The University of Manchester, continuing from my MA at The New School.

I am a creative partner with the Visualizing Palestine collective, working on data-driven and rights-based information visualization projects and toolkits. Prior to that, I co-founded and directed the research collaborative Discursive Formations (2008-2013) as a platform for transdisciplinary practice about Beirut’s public space and Lebanon’s urban conditions. One main project concerned tracing the becoming of Beirut’s urban park (Horsh Al-Sanawbar) since the 16th century only to uncover a rich history of relational ecologies of politics, armed conflict, exile, pine trees, and environmental planning. The outcome was the BFIGG Award for innovative good governance (2008), a self-published book titled At the Edge of the City (2010, supported by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung – Middle East Office), two book chapters, and public talks and interviews in Métropolitiques, Traits Urbain, Le Courrier (Fr), The Polis Blog, Next City, World Environment, Bold Magazine, Al-Jadid, Los Angeles Times, The National, The Daily Star (En), Arquitetura e Urbanismo (Br), Danish Radio (Dk), Wysokie Obcasy (Pl), Deutsche Welle (De), and Trouw (Nl).

I held senior positions at Dar Al-Handasah (2010-2013) and UN-ESCWA (2007), in addition to my earlier practice as an architect. I taught design research at Parsons School of Design (2014-2016) and led the graduate workshop “Dissident Times [Square]” (2015), and I participated in the art-research projects State Theatre (film by Daniel Kötter/Constanze Fischbeck), Hay Festival Beirut, Volume Project (workshop by Vision Forum, Assabil Association and 98weeks), and Pine Nuts (film by Lasse Lau).

Recent publications

Edited volume

  • Shayya, F., ed., 2010. At the Edge of the City: Reinhabiting Public Space toward the Recovery of Beirut's Horsh Al-Sanawbar. Beirut: DISCURSIVE FORMATIONS.

Book chapters

  • Shayya, F. & Visualizing Palestine, 2017. Gaza Under Siege. In: M. Sorkin & V. Rao, eds. Open Gaza. New York City: Urban Research.
  • Shayya, F., Asfour, F. & Salman, L., 2012. Recognizing the Invisible Monument: On the Politics of Memorilization and Public Space in Post-war Beirut. In: D. Naik & T. Oldfield, eds. Critical Cities: Ideas, Knowledge and Agitation from Emerging Urbanists. London: Myrdle Court Press, pp. 314-331.
  • Shayya, F., 2010. From Woods to Park: An Historical & Ethnographic Investigation of Programming the Landscape of the Horsh. In: F. Shayya, ed. At the Edge of the City: Reinhabiting Public Space toward the Recovery of Beirut's Horsh Al-Sanawbar. Beirut: Discursive Formations, pp. 23-27.
  • Shayya, F., 2010. Production of a Pseudo-Public Space: A Reading of Park Closure in Beirut. In: H. Smitshuijzen AbiFares, ed. Typographic Matchmaking in the City.Amsterdam: Khatt Books, pp. 44-54.

Conference presentations

  • Shayya, F., 2017. Strangely familiar! Or, what the smell of grease revealed about my curious self.. Sheffield, PhD by Design. (forthcoming)
  • Shayya, F., 2016. Leave No MRAP Behind: Geographies of Delegation, Militarization and Urbanism in the US. San Francisco, The American Association of Geographers.
  • Shayya, F., 2016. Failing Imaginaries and Translations: How the MRAPs Save and Fail the US Military in the Middle East.New York, The New School.
  • Shayya, F., Rachid, N. & Amarnath, K., 2016. Refuge and the Territoriality of Habitation: A Critical Inquiry. New York, The New School.
  • Shayya, F., 2011. Partisan Urban Governance Restricts access to public Space: Beirut’s Only Park is Closed. Beirut: Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy & International Affairs, AUB.

Magazine essays and visuals

  • Marshall, V. & Shayya, F., 2017. New Activist Urban Form. Journal of Landscape Architecture. (forthcoming)
  • Shayya, F., 2013. Speculations and Questions on Dubaization. In: A. Makia & R. Aima, eds. The State. Dubai: The State, pp. 100-104.
  • Shayya, F., 2012. Revisiting Open Space Provision in Lebanon. Urban Design Quarterly, 1 October, Issue 124, pp. 14-16.