Prof. Dr. Astrid Ley

course director IUSD in Stuttgart

Astrid Ley studied architecture and urban design at RWTH Aachen and the Università degli Studi di Firenze in Italy. She holds a degree as graduate engineer in architecture and urban design from RWTH Aachen and a P.hD from TU Berlin. Her professional life started as a project coordinator at the “Bundesweite Servicestelle Lokale Agenda 21”, Agenda-Transfer, in Bonn before joining Habitat Unit, TU Berlin, between 2003 and 2013 as a teaching and research staff member. In 2010 she had a DAAD lectureship position at the School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Recently she held a position as urban development research analyst at the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) and as a Post Doc researcher in a DFG funded research project on “Housing for the Urban Poor: From Local Action to Global Networks” at Habitat Unit, TU Berlin. Since October 2014 she is chair for international urbanism at the Institute for Urban Planning and Design, University of Stuttgart, and will take over the position as course director of the MSc. IUSD program. In her understanding it needs the development of a changed role of built environment practitioners as process designers in order to be able to include a network of actors. This will be central to develop solutions in complex problem constellations such as apparent in the international urban development context.

Prof. Dr. Mohamed Salheen

course dircector IUSD in Cairo

Mohamed Salheen obtained his BSc in Urban Planning and Design in 1993 from Ain Shams University, Cairo. He was appointed as teaching staff at the department and later received a PhD scholarship to obtain his PhD in Urban Design from Edinburgh College of Art, UK in 1997 with a thesis on “Comprehensive Analysis Approaches in Urban Settings”. From 2001 until 2014 he acted as an assistant and associate professor at Ain Shams University teaching and supervising multidisciplinary topics. Developing a clear research line in the field of Integrated Planning and Design, he then became the first professor of Integrated Planning and Design in Egypt. To develop this research field Salheen had to develop various research lines at different levels ranging from Architectural Design to Regional Planning with diverse topics ranging from spatial Analysis to socioeconomic and cultural aspects, yet all focused on the intermediate gaps and Integrated Solutions. He has coordinated several international cooperation projects with Universities in Germany, Sweden, Austria and Denmark. He is a member of the EU Higher Education reform Experts (HEREs) Team, contributing to various workshops and seminars on internationalization and harmonization of Higher Education. Salheen is also active in practice and consultation working with GIZ, UN-Habitat, UNEP and UNDP as well as other national and regional organizations in the fields of strategic, environmental and integrated planning and design.

Prof. Dr. Leonie Fischer

course director IUSD in Stuttgart

Since October 2019, Leonie Fischer is chair of the Institute of Landscape Planning and Ecology at the University of Stuttgart.

Before, Leonie Fischer worked as scientist at the Chair of Ecosystem Science/Plant Ecology, Technische Universität Berlin. She completed her PhD thesis in 2012 on “Urban meadows: biodiversity patterns and restoration potential” within the Graduate School Urban Ecology Berlin, together with Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. Her professional background is in Landscape Planning and Landscape Architecture, including a final thesis on the “Ecological impacts of the introduced quinine tree (Cinchona spp.) in Hawai'i”.

Her scientific focus is especially on the ecology of human-influenced habitats in both tropical and moderate regions, including urban ecology and urban restoration. Leonie Fischer also works on a deeper understanding on how people value urban nature, and what influences their attitudes. Basic part of her research work is its practical orientation and application.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Jörn Birkmann

Since October 2014 Joern Birkmann is chair of the Institute of Spatial  and Regional Planning at the University of Stuttgart. Prior to this he headed the section Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Management and Adaptive Planning at the United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security (2017-2014), held a temporary Professorship at the University of Munich (October 2012 – April 2013) and was appointed Scientific Advisor at the United Nations University (2004 – 2007). From 1999 – 2004 Joern Birkmann held the position of Researcher and Lecturer at the Faculty of Spatial Planning at the University of Dortmund.
In 2003 Joern Birkmann was awarded the degree of Dr.-Ing. (PhD. in Engineering) by the University of Dortmund and in2009 he completed his Post-doctoral study (Habilitation) in the field of “Geography”, at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Bonn.
In addition to questions of spatial planning and spatial governance, Joern Birkmann has conducted research on vulnerability and risk research as well as adaptation to climate change. He is the coordinating lead author for the sixth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Birkmann's research focuses, among other things, on new methods for dealing with the challenges of social change and environmental change in selected regions and cities of the global North and South . In current research projects he is investigating, for example, the resilience and adaptive capacities of cities to heavy precipitation and heat and spatial development trends in Baden-Württemberg. Joern Birkmann has published over 100 articles and various books in international journals such as Nature.

MSc. Shaharin Annisa

course coordinator, lecturer IUSD Stuttgart

Shaharin Elham Annisa was born in Bangladesh but grew up in Oman, completing her Bachelor’s degree at the German University of Technology (GUtech) in Oman, studying Urban Planning and Architectural Design (UPAD).She joined the UPAD department at GUtech after her graduation and worked as a teaching and research assistant for two years. Her bachelor thesis focused on creating a series of public squares at the city center of Al Buraimi (a border city of Oman). Furthermore she was involved in the design, construction and monitoring phase of Gutech’s Eco friendly house; a result of a competition which her team of students, academic staff and consultants had the opportunity to receive funds to win and construct. She finished her Master’s degree in University of Stuttgart in the program Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable design (IUSD) research on understanding the spatial effects of migration and livelihood of Bangladeshi immigrants in Oman (Gulf context). During her master studies she was part of the EZBET project based in Cairo working on the development of informal settlements. Her interests lie in earthen construction, urban informality and migration studies.

Dipl.Ing. Rainer Goutrié

course coordinator IUSD Stuttgart

Rainer Goutrié holds a diploma in architecture from University of Stuttgart. During the years 2000-2005 he was working as a project architect in different companies planning and constructing public buildings and residential houses. He won several prices in architectural and urban planning competitions. From 2004 until 2010 he was working and teaching in the department of urban planning and design, chair of Prof Dr.-Ing. Helmut Bott, University of Stuttgart. His field of work was the urban planning education of 2nd year students and design classes for higher semester students. These mainly international related design classes and study trips lead him to e.g. Turkey, France, Netherlands and Brazil. In 2010 he started working as the coordinator of the “international module”, a compulsory part of Bsc. education that means working or studying abroad and he organizes the international office of the faculty of architecture and urban planning. Since 2016 he is part of the IUSD course coordinator team at University of Stuttgart.

Dr.-Ing. Josefine Fokdal

Dr. Josefine Fokdal is a senior researcher at the department for International Urbanism, led by Prof. Dr. Ley at the University of Stuttgart. 2015-2016 she was the interim head of the department International Urbanism at the University of Stuttgart. She previously worked as a senior researcher at the Habitat Unit (2009 – 2014). Since 2011 Josefine has been part of the research team on networking of urban poor in the housing field. She studied architecture at the Technische Universität Berlin (DE) and Ball State University (USA). In 2014 she completed her doctoral dissertation, “Embodiment of the Urban: Relational Space in the South Chinese Megacity Guangzhou” at the TU Berlin. Josefine Fokdal was a visiting scholar at the Hong Kong University in 2014. Her research and writings span the fields of spatial theory, housing, governance, informality, urbanization in Asia and urban embodiment. Between 2009-2010 she was one of the leading researcher on the DFG project “Peri-Urbanization in the Pearl River Delta” which has been published in 2014 (Beyond Urbanism: Urban(izing) Villages and the Mega Urban Landscape in the Pearl River Delta in China, LIT). Josefine Fokdal teaches in the international master’s program Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable Design, in the post-graduate Urban Management course (TU Berlin) and has been teaching master’s courses in Architecture and Urban Design since 2009. Further, she supervises master theses at the IHS (Rotterdam), Urban Management (TU Berlin) and Urban Development (El-Gouna, Egypt). She has a wide range of experiences from working as a consultant to bi- and multi-lateral agencies on urbanization and development policy in the global South as well as in architectural offices. She is a German MC member of the European Network INTREPID (COST Action TD1408) on interdisciplinarity in urban studies and the chair of the International Advisory Board. She is a member of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Asienkunde (DGA) and the Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA).

Dipl.-Ing. Christian Degenhardt

Christian Degenhardt is a teaching and research staff member at the Chair for Building Technology and Climate Responsive Design led by Prof. Dipl.-Ing. M. Rudolph at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design (ABK), in the department of architecture.

Since 2021 he is part of the research team on Convertible Urban Shades - investigating the potential and implementation strategies of moveable tensile morphologies in order to adapt the microclimate of urban environments with the goal to increase outdoor comfort and mitigate the effects of climate change in Stuttgart.

Christian Degenhardt teaches Sustainable Architecture 1 in the IUSD program since 2017 and has been teaching master’s and bachelor’s courses at the ABK Stuttgart in the field of sustainable architecture since 2014 with the focus on climate responsive design, integrated design process and daylight in architecture.

From 2011-2016 he worked at Transsolar Energietechnik GmbH in Stuttgart, from 2013 to 2016 as an education program director of the TranssolarAcademy. He was assigned to develop, introduce and implement the unique in-house educational program which offers a one year fellowship to gain knowledge and experience in KlimaEngineering.

Christian Degenhardt studied architecture at RWTH Aachen and holds a degree as graduate engineer in architecture. In 2009 he started his practical experience at Holzhüter Architektur and Holzbau GmbH in Aachen, from detail planing to completion of modern wooden constructions. Since 2012 he is working with Jan-André Meyer Architekten as an independent design architect. 

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yehya Serag

Yehya Serag received a Bachelor degree in Architecture with a major in Urban Planning and Design from Ain Shams University, Cairo. He, then, obtained his MA in human settlements (PGCHS – Catholic University of Leuven) as well as a Post Graduate Certificate in spatial and regional planning after completing the European Module for spatial development and planning (New Castle University). He graduated with a PhD on the topic “Networking and networks as tools for regional development and planning: Human settlements’ development potentialities in the Western part of Egypt” from the department of Architecture, spatial planning and landscape (Catholic University of Leuven). Since April 2014, Serag holds the position of an associate professor of urban and regional planning at the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Ain Shams University. Starting from December 2010, he coordinates the MSc IUSD. He is currently interested in the impact of politics on urbanism as a new line of research, as well as , urban and regional strategic planning and development.

MSc. Jesús Antonio Martínez Zárate

Degree in Architecture in Mexico City (2009).

Jesús Martínez Zárate worked in different architecture and urban planning offices with focus on mobility in Mexico City (2009 -2014).

From 2014 to 2016, he studied M.Sc. Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable Design (IUSD) at the University of Stuttgart. In his master's thesis, he addressed the issue of reclaiming public space through reallabors and participatory processes.

Since 2017, he has been working in different offices in Stuttgart. He has co-developed parallel projects that invite debate on the reclamation of public space: CASA Schützenplatz (since 2016) and Wanderbaumallee Stuttgart (since 2019).

Since June 2021 he teaches the course 'City and Landscape' at ILPÖ, which deals with the interface between architecture and ecology.


M.SC. Arch. Vladyslav Tyminskyi

M.Sc. Arch. Vladyslav Tyminskyi is an architect, researcher, and consultant on strategic urban design and spatial planning. Since 2018 he is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Stuttgart, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, focused on the study of urban policy mobilities for understanding the process of transferring strategic spatial planning — an approach which was originated in the global North and has been introduced in the specific context of contemporary Ukrainian cities.

Vladyslav Tyminskyi obtained his Master’s degree in Architecture at Kharkiv National University of Civil Engineering and Architecture (Kharkiv, Ukraine) in 2012 and completed a postgraduate research program ‘Big Future’ at Strelka Institute for Media, on Architecture and Design (Moscow, Russia) in 2015. As a researcher, he is focused on strategic spatial planning and integrated urban development, urban policy transferring, alternative forms of governance in the context of contemporary urban development in Central Eastern Europe. In 2015-2018 he worked at CANactions School for Urban Studies (Kyiv, Ukraine) as an Education Program Director and a Co-curator of Education. In 2016 the research projects of the School were presented at the Venice Architecture Biennale as a part of the Urban-Think Tank (Zurich, Switzerland) pavilion. While working at CANactions School, he was a guest tutor in the framework of academic events in Romania, Serbia, Lithuania, Belarus, Germany, and France. In 2016-2017 he worked for two GIZ projects in Ukraine — ‘Integrated Urban Development’ and ‘National Urban Development Policy (NUDP)’ as a Chief Urban Researcher and External Consultant on Urban Planning and Urban Management. The projects have been aimed at introducing in Ukraine integrated urban development principles on the municipal and national level respectively. In 2013 he was an Executive Editor and author of articles for the almanac ‘Urban Studies: Politics and Practices of Urban Renewal’ supported by Heinrich Boell Foundation in Ukraine.

Eng. Abdulmoneim Alfiky

Abdulmoneim Alfiky received his B.Sc. in Urban Planning and Design in 2001 from the Faculty of Engineering – Ain Shams University, where he subsequently became a teaching assistant in the Dept. of Urban Planning and Design. In 2008 he received his M.Sc. on the topic of Urban Environmental management from Ain Shams University. His professional experience focuses on strategic and regional planning in rural areas of the Egyptian Nile Delta. He actively participated in several TEMPUS project between Ain Shams University and various European universities. Currently he is working on his PhD on effects of urban and rural sprawling on the agricultural lands in the Nile Delta under joint supervision from Ain Shams University & University of Stuttgart and recently joined the IUSD Course Coordination Team at Ain Shams University.

Student Assistants

Giuliana Fronte

Currently studying Master of Science Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Stuttgart, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning

Flavia Milachay

Currently studying Master of Science Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Stuttgart, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning

Shaharior Areej Pranto

Currently studying Master of Science in International Project Management (building, real-estate and infrastructure)
HFT Hochschule für Technik


IUSD Office
University of Stuttgart

Keplerstr. 11, 70174 Stuttgart, University of Stuttgart
Faculty of Architecture and Urban Design


IUSD Office
Ain Shams University Cairo

1 El-Sarayat Street, 11517 Abbasiya, Cairo, Ain Shams University
Faculty of Engineering

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