Mona Helmy


Placemaking is an inclusive approach to the planning, design, and management of public places by which people create and/or recreate places. In the context of the Arab cities, placemaking projects are often envisaged to transform communities’ spaces into lively and attractive places; to enhance quality of life and opportunity for existing residents. It also aims to (re)create a distinct sense of place or place branding at large. Exploring how contemporary Arab cities have framed placemaking processes within the contemporary urban conditions, and sometimes the threats to the quality of the city, are helping in creating healthier, equitable, and humane public places. Such challenges and opportunities of these processes is a core component of this special edition of The Journal of Public Space, which discusses various aspects of placemaking in Arab Cities, ranges from creating, enhancing, adapting and developing attractive and efficient public places in Arab Cities.  In this context, academic papers and viewpoints have manifested a variety of perspectives, theories and practices of placemaking concepts, methods, recent challenges and possible solutions. They portrayed several tools on establishing and revitalizing public places starting from governmental toolkits, reaching unplanned activities fostering community engagement in placemaking.


How to Cite
Helmy, M. (2020) “Placemaking in Arab Cities. Realities, Challenges, and Prospects”, The Journal of Public Space, 5(1), pp. 1–4. doi: 10.32891/jps.v5i1.1247.
Author Biography

Mona Helmy, The British University in Egypt

Mona Helmy is an architect, urbanist, and educator. Currently, she is an associate professor of architecture and urban design at the British University in Egypt (BUE). She received a Doctoral degree in Architecture and City Planning from Stuttgart University, Germany. She holds a master’s degree in Urban Design and a Bachelor of Architecture from Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt. She holds a higher diploma of “Teaching for Understanding” from Harvard University.
Between 2010 and 2018, Dr. Helmy was the founding chair of the architecture department at Dar Al-Hekma University, Jeddah, Kingdom of Sausi Arabia. She also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Stuttgart in Germany. She published widely in international and national conferences. She is a member of several scientific committees in international conferences, symposia, and refereed journals. As part of her scholarly activities, she served as a guest editor to a themed issue from The Journal of Public Spaces (JPS) that focused on Placemaking in Arab Cities.
She is a research fellow at the Städtebau-Institut “SI” of the University of Stuttgart. The current research studies of Dr. Helmy focus on “Creative Public Spaces”, “City Imaging and Branding” as well as “City Eventification”.
As a consultant and advisor in urban design, city branding, and contemporary Arab Gulf urbanism, she has participated in a number of significant planning, urban, and architecture projects in Germany, Saudi Arabia, and the Middle East. She also contributed to several design studies.