Yasser Elsheshtawy is a former visiting scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. He is a professor of architecture and an independent scholar. His scholarship focuses on urbanization in developing societies, informal urbanism, urban history, and environment-behavior studies, with a particular focus on Middle Eastern cities. He is currently an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation where he teaches a course on housing in the Arab world. He taught at United Arab Emirates University from 1997 -2017, and was appointed as curator for the UAE Pavilion at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2016. Additionally, he was a visiting professor at Université Paris Sorbonne during the fall semester of 2017.
Elsheshtawy has authored more than 70 publications, including Dubai: Behind an Urban Spectacle, a key reference on the city’s urban development (ranked number one on Amazon under the “United Arab Emirates History” category in September 2017). He also edited The Evolving Arab City: Tradition, Modernity, and Development, which received the 2010 International Planning History Society Best Book Award, and Planning Middle Eastern Cities: An Urban Kaleidoscope. Most recently, two chapters on urban development in the Arab world were published in the widely known City Planning and Urban Design Readers, which are comprised of key influential texts on urban planning and design. He is currently working on a book about the Gulf Arab city provisionally titled Temporary Cities.
Elsheshtawy has presented his research at numerous international institutions, such as INALCO Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, NYU-AD, Politecnico Milano, University of Macau, Tongji University-Shanghai, Harvard Graduate School of Design, ETH-Zurich, the Louvre Auditorium-Paris and the Canadian Center of Architecture-Montreal. He was also involved as a consultant with the United Nation’s Economic and Social Commission of Western Asia and the Urban Land Institute in Washington, DC. He has been interviewed by many notable news and media outlets including Radio Monocle, National Geographic, The Guardian, Boston Globe and ArchDaily. His blog dubaization.com has been hailed by The Guardian as one of the notable city blogs in the world.
Elsheshtawy has a PhD in architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a master’s degree in architecture from Pennsylvania State University, and a Bachelor of Architecture from Cairo University.