Ru’a Al-Abweh

Designer of Conditions and Tools, Organizer, Urban Planner
A hybrid of urban planner, designer of strategies/tools/conditions, community organizer (new to this and still learning!), placemaker, and home-seeker. My journey has taken me to many different places and experiences (including playwork, storytelling, exhibition curation, building revitalization, research, transitional shelter design, refugee camp planning, community engagement).
I am interested in the question of what creates a sense of home and how people can be the real drivers of local development -whether spatial, social, or economic. I believe strongly in the need to distribute power more equitably when it comes to placemaking and community development, so that the residents of a place have agency over their neighborhoods and places, rather than more power being in the hands of institutions, design firms, NGOs, and urban planners.

Over the years, I've been developing and trialing different approaches and tools to put decision making and change rooted in physical place in the hands of people. This includes thinking about incremental design, "kit of parts", and grassroots action. I'm also interested in the question and role of public space across different cultures, especially through a woman’s lens.
I have worked at the UN Refugee Agency and San Francisco Planning Department and co-founded an initiative called Azraq Alive. I also have a Master of Urban Planning from the University of Washington, with a specialization in Community-Based Public Space Planning and Design for Global Challenges.

Outside the world of development, planning, design, and all that jazz, I also dedicate time to music, writing, and exercise.