Joana Dabaj
Riccardo Luca Conti


CatalyticAction is a design studio and charity that works to empower communities through strategic and innovative community-led spatial interventions. They developed their architectural approach in the Lebanese context of displacement where the built environment and wellbeing are being constantly negotiated. Focusing on context specific educational spaces, they have created valuable impacts on the locality, on education, local economy, equality and wellbeing. The projects have been benefiting the most vulnerable groups including children, elderly and persons with disabilities. With this process of thinking and doing architecture, refugee and host communities co-design together and shape their shared built environment at this specific time of displacement, but also work towards a sustainable longer-term use of the spaces. 


How to Cite
Dabaj, J. and Conti, R. L. (2020) “Placemaking in Lebanese Cities Hosting Displaced Communities”, The Journal of Public Space, 5(1), pp. 219–246. doi: 10.32891/jps.v5i1.1259.
Author Biographies

Joana Dabaj, Catalytic Action

Joana Dabaj is an architect, urban designer and researcher. She has valuable experience in architecture in development, sustainable design, cultural heritage, migration and human rights in the Middle East. Her recent work revolves around working closely with displaced and host communities in Lebanon to develop inclusive educational spaces; this includes participatory planning, design and implementation of playgrounds, public spaces and schools.

Riccardo Luca Conti, Catalytic Action

Riccardo is an architect and urban designer with experience in research, design and planning in different countries such as Lebanon, Kenya, Cambodia, Italy and UK. He holds an MSc from University College London (UCL) in Building and Urban Design in Development. He co-founded the project Mathare River in Nairobi where he also worked as researcher and field project manager. Throughout his career he explored and developed extensive experience in various people centered design approaches.