Architecture, Planning and Preservation Faculty Tenured in 2023
The Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation welcomed Hiba Bou Akar to its tenured faculty in 2023. Tenure is a distinction that recognizes scholarly excellence, demonstrated capacity for imaginative, original work, and great promise for continued contributions at the forefront of one's field.
Hiba Bou Akar
Hiba Bou Akar, Associate Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, is an urban and planning scholar and theorist who focuses on post-conflict planning in cities, urban security and violence, and the role of religious political organizations in the making of cities.
Her work demonstrates how post-conflict urban planning generates forms of contested urbanization, challenging the central tenet of planning practice that assumes urban plans and development schemes necessarily lead to peace and progress.
Her research, particularly her work in cities like Beirut, has given rise to innovative theoretical frameworks for understanding issues like urban inequality, segregation, and contentious urban development, which are global concerns intertwined with the looming challenges posed by wars and climate change.
In her award-winning book, For the War Yet to Come: Planning Beirut’s Frontiers, Bou Akar meticulously analyzes how planning practices during and after conflicts have profoundly shaped Beirut's urban development. The outcome has been the emergence of disputed urban peripheries mired in new forms of conflict and characterized by various forms of socioeconomic, political, and environmental displacement.
A second book, currently in progress, titled Sedimentary Urbanization, aims to show how Beirut's urban fabric is shaped by the perception of an unattainable future, one overshadowed by the specter of war. It explores how low-income residents and refugees are reshaping the city to create their own future prospects.
In 2018, Dr. Bou Akar established the Post-Conflict Cities Lab at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.
Bou Akar earned her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, and was an assistant professor at Hampshire College before joining the Columbia faculty in 2017, earning tenure in 2023.