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About Us

Our Story

We believe

that cities belong to people, and that people should have an essential role in designing their own experiences in their urban settings. We also believe that the role of architect in the MENA region should shift from being purely a building designer to a facilitator who realises the needs of people in urban settings through the design process of placemaking. These beliefs developed over the years, and crystalised as we started to question our role in rebuilding our country after the start of its destruction in 2012.

Our key objective

has always been to provide accurate, timely and accessible information about Syria’s urban reconstruction policies. In the context of limited information, but high anxiety, about current and upcoming urban policy developments in Syria, we decided to establish Syrbanism. We did this in an attempt to address the need for people to engage with policy development and speak to others, with opinions and thoughts based on factual knowledge and accurate resources rather than rumour. Our mission requires tackling complicated topics that are related to reconstruction terminologies, approaches, legislations, informality and legal procedures.

We understand that ‘Reconstruction’

is a contested word and concept, so it’s really important to have clarity about what is meant by this term. For us real reconstruction has not begun yet, because we consider reconstruction to be socially just on different levels, which means that besides being accountable and negotiable, any reconstruction project should consider building lives rather than just houses.

Our Team

Nour is an architect and urban researcher specialized in social justice, informality, spatial changes during conflicts. She is a DAAD Alumna. She holds a Diploma degree in Architecture from Damascus University and a Master of Science degree in Urban Design from TU-Berlin. Nour has worked as a senior architect in Germany for 6 years working on innovative new approaches and housing projects. Previously she worked at Damascus University as a research and teaching assistant.

Nour Harastani
Co-founder & Managing Director

Edwar is an architect and urban practitioner specialized in political architecture, urban development, post-conflict recovery, and community empowerment. He is a Chevening FCO Alumnus, he holds a Diploma degree in Architecture from Damascus University and a Master's degree in Urban Design and Development, University College London, UK. Edwar is the program manager of The Communications for Development C4D organization, a global community of professionals working in communication for development C4D, with members in 126 countries. Recently he is leading the delivery of a participatory peacebuilding toolkit in more than ten war-torn countries around the world.   

Edwar Hanna

Maram is an urban practitioner with a multi-disciplinary background focused on participatory urban development and stakeholder dialogue in integrated settingsMaram is a DAAD alumnaShe holds a Bachelor degree in Architecture from the University of Jordan and a double Master’s degree in Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable Design from the University of StuttgartGermany, and Ain Shams UniversityEgypt. Maram has been working for the past several years with multiple regional and international organizations, including GIZ and UNRWA, on field-based projects focused on grassroot camps urban improvement, improvement of green infrastructures in host communities, and community-driven planning through co-design and inclusive strategies. She has been regularly assigned key roles in managing participatory platforms between community segments, private sector, technical consultants, non-governmental and governmental bodies, as well as steering components and networks. 

Maram Sha'aban
Pre. Project Manager / YSU Network Coordinator (2021-2023)

With an MA in IR and Global Affairs, Majid has worked at MiCT (Media in Cooperation and Transition) as an editor, SM advisor, and Team coordinator. Later, he worked as a “Project Intern” with IOM - UN Migration assisting in two projects; Resettlement, and Migrant Entrepreneurship. In his latest job, Majid worked at VDSH e.V. as a project coordinator for the project (Networking / Knowledge Transfer for Syrian Civil Society actors in Europe), which aims to foster peer-2-peer learning and cooperation between Syrian CS NGOs and networks in EU and Syria.

Majid Albunni
Project Manager / YSU Network Coordinator

Talah is an architect with academic research experience. She holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Damascus and a master’s degree in “Architecture, Landscape, and Archaeology”; an integrated Erasmus+ program jointly offered by the University of Sapienza and Federico II University, Italy; the National Technical University of Athens, Greece; and Coimbra University, Portugal. She has previously worked in architecture and graphic design in Damascus but was mainly driven by cultural heritage and sustainable development. She has conducted and been part of several research projects concerning urban and cultural topics.

Talah Alshami
Architect & Researcher

Hiba is an urban and humanitarian practitioner. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the Sudan University of Science and Technology and a Master’s in International Cooperation in Urban Development from Technical University Darmstadt. Her expertise lies in working with international organizations, particularly in Sudan, where she worked on projects that improve the living conditions of refugees and host communities. Additionally, she has worked in consultancy offices that provide project management and research services in humanitarian contexts within the MENA region.

Hiba Karam
Project Assistant (2023)

Anas is a social protection practitioner, focusing on migration policies. He holds a master’s degree in Social Protection Systems from Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg. His experience includes working with refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt in an educational program that was funded by UNHCR and Ford Foundation. He has recently worked with ILO Arab States regional office on a publication on reforming end-of-service indemnity for migrant workers in GCC countries. He also worked at International Institute of Humanitarian Law as coordinator for the Arabic course on Statelessness. Through his internship with International Trade Union Confederation, Anas published a policy brief on migrants’ inclusion in social protection systems.

Anas Ghonaim
Project Assistant


Syrbanism areas of actions include mainly information; research; policies anaylsis; advocacy support; knowledge sharing & networking; as well as capacity building.

These areas operate in different urban development sectors such as Sustainable Development; Housing Land and Property (HLP); Informality, Participatory Design; Rural/urban Politics; Hiretage; Public space & Placemaking.

Providing accurate, accessible and timely information about Syrian urban reconstruction policies.
Supporting the design, production, and dissemination of research about post-conflict urban development.
Producing a range of advocacy resources in response to needs informed by our engagement with a range of stakeholders.
Facilitating knowledge-sharing and dialogue opportunities; through workshops and forums with our partners applying a holistic approach to urban design.
Developing learning materials and learning opportunities about urban rights and development, specifically to counter misinformation about diaspora Syrian property rights.