Portrait of Professor Samer Bagaeen

Professor Samer Bagaeen

Professor of Planning
Programme Director: MA Urban Planning and Resilience


Samer is a highly networked polyglot (English, Arabic, Spanish & Italian), urban practitioner, city diplomat and educator with a strong self-starting attitude and an international experience working alongside ministers, mayors and elected officials, practitioners and the broader community helping equip forward-thinking communities and leaders with the tools to welcome growth, manage projects, strengthen infrastructure, and forward plan for precovery.

Before joining 100 Resilient Cities in 2016, Samer worked in academia and in the private, public and voluntary sectors across Europe and the Middle East. Most recently, Samer led graduate urban planning education at the University of Brighton in England and was Viciting Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Jordan working alongside NGOs working with UNHCR & the International Rescue Committee. He previously served as Director of Urban Studies at the National Resources Investment and Development Cooperation (Mawared) in Jordan with responsibility for master planning former military sites. Prior to that, he served as Training Programme and Master Plan Coordinator with the Welfare Association in Jerusalem. Samer brings both depth and breadth of city expertise, specifically in issues related to project design and working with partners, community planning, regional planning & regeneration, housing delivery, and national urban policy formulation. Samer is a prolific writer and some of his recent published works include Sustainable Regeneration of Former Military Sites (Routledge, 2016) and Beyond Gated Communities (Foreword by Saskia Sassen) (Routledge 2015). Samer is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and has served as a Trustee of two leading urban planning organizations in London, the Town and Country Planning Association and the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Samer holds a BA in Architecture from University College London (UCL), a Masters of Urban Design in Developing Countries from UCL, and a Diploma in International Cooperation for Development from the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid. He also holds a Ph.D. in Planning Studies from UCL and an MBA from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.

Research interests

  • Urban & climate resilience
  • City diplomacy and wider engagement
  • Urban gating
  • Brownfield regeneration
  • Community & neighbourhood planning




  • Al shawabkeh, R., Bagaeen, S., Al_Fugara, A. and Hijazi, H. (2019). The Role of Land Use Change in Developing City Spatial Models in Jordan: The Case of the Irbid Master Plan (1970–2017). Alexandria Engineering Journal [Online] 58:861-875. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aej.2019.08.001.
    Irbid city witnessed a rapid population growth starting from 2003 up to now, which affected the expansion of the city form. This led to awareness of an urgent need to evaluate the current urban planning practices which have been implemented and how responsive they are to land use changes. This paper investigates the role of land use change in determining the spatial model of urban growth in Irbid. The study outlines the development of planning stages from 1970 to 2017. It also explores the temporal and spatial characteristics of urban expansion by analyzing Irbid city maps at different time intervals. Quantitative methods are used by employing GIS. The literature presents the impact of developing land uses on the expansion of the city borders, and identifies the spatial patterns of urban growth. The study concludes with a spatial model of the city comprising structural plans and practical recommendations for Irbid urban development for a better understanding of the city expansion pattern. It also predicts the way of city urban development, thereby identifying its influence on land use changes. This model is, therefore, valuable for informing policy or responding to current planning practices in Irbid and other similar cities nearly considered irregular pattern.
  • Bagaeen, S. and Grove, H. (2017). Using existing data to reunite health and planning – exploring the relationship between green spaces and health. Town and Country Planning 86:116-122.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2016). Reframing the notion of sustainable urban development in the Middle East. Open House International 41:39-47.
    In offering reflections on key themes affecting sustainability in the Middle East, this paper explores how an imprecise concept such as sustainability can, co-constituted with other powerful political and economic systems, such as nation building, drive forward new agendas for urban development. Rather than focus on specific empirical findings, the paper reflects instead on some of the assumptions underpinning competing approaches to sustainability highlighting multiple alternate visions of urban sustainability. In doing so, the paper engages with the literature on sustainability, master-planning and real estate development inviting the reader in the process to think about and ponder on the role of vision in the process. The reader is therefore invited to consider the aggregate impact of individual master planned projects on the urban fabric of fast growing cities and to think about how projects such as Masdar City in Abu Dhabi and the Msheireb downtown redevelopment in Doha demonstrate how sustainability and nationalist discourses are intertwined offering competing visions of what a sustainable city might become while at the same time hiding urban inequalities in plain sight with the help of the 'forward looking' facade of sustainability.
  • Bagaeen, S., Wrighton, G. and Gibson, M. (2015). Reconnecting town and gown. Town and Country Planning 84:392-399.
  • Bagaeen, S. and McCarthy, J. (2015). Good practice in planning education. Town and Country Planning 84:39-44.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2014). Travails in the politics of housing. Town and Country Planning 83:554-558.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2014). Between a rock and a hard place: House-building in Brighton and Hove. Planning theory and practice [Online] 15:596-602. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14649357.2014.968008.
  • Bagaeen, S. and Coca-Stefaniak, A. (2013). Strategic management for sustainable high street recovery. Town and Country Planning 82:532-537.
  • Bagaeen, S., Talbot, J. and Myers, C. (2013). Sharing planning research findings with practitioners. Town and Country Planning 82:394-399.
  • Bagaeen, S. and Mullins, S. (2012). Issues and Challenges emerging from a frontrunner Neighbourhood Plan: The case of Ringmer in East Sussex. Town and Country Planning 81:325-329.
  • Bagaeen, S. and Gilbert-Smith, A. (2012). Consultation lessons from the new forest. Town and Country Planning 81:287-290.
  • Bagaeen, S. and Dobson, J. (2012). Forces for good: making the most of military land for public benefit. Town and Country Planning 81:192-195.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2011). Understanding power dynamics in the planning process: the case of a retail development in Glasgow. International Journal of Sustainable Society [Online] 3:356-384. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1504/IJSSOC.2011.043637.
    This paper uses critical discourse analysis (CDA) to investigate power, influence and inequality manifested in a process involving a planning application. The objectives behind the case study research, a planning application for a minor retail development in the west end of Glasgow, include an exploration of the role that language and discourse play in reflecting and constituting relations of power between the stakeholders in the process and to explore the value of the ideas of linguists such as Fairclough and Van Dijk as tools of research in town planning. The premise here is that using CDA to study the language used in texts provides insights not ordinarily evident from more traditional research methodologies. To do this, this paper shows how texts can be used to challenge knowledge, manufacture consent and articulate and sustain resistance and challenge. In broad terms, one of the methodological assumptions that inform discourse-based approaches is that different groups seek to establish a particular narrative or version of events as a means to pursue political objectives. This paper sets out initially the theoretical influences that inform relations of power and dominance in order to better understand the relationship between language and power followed by an analysis of texts drawn from a wider body of information related to the planning application to inform the conclusions. This paper concludes with a discussion of the value and utility of CDA as a valid method for social inquiry and as a useful resource for understanding power and dominance in the urban sphere and the struggle to create sustainable communities.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2007). Brand Dubai: The Instant City; or the Instantly Recognizable City. International Planning Studies [Online] 12:173-197. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/13563470701486372.
    With ambitions to become a hub of global commerce, a top tourist destination and a shopping Mecca—a New York/Las Vegas/Miami rolled into one—Dubai has been spending billions of dollars to build an astonishing modern city nearly from scratch in a mere 15 years. To date some $100 billion worth of real estate under construction or in the pipeline continues the boom. Combining the involvement of local businesses and innovative strategies of urban marketing with headline catching projects, Dubai has set out to transform its urban landscape, and its image. Ambitious mixed-use urban developments featuring luxury residences, hotels and office blocks, huge shopping malls and imaginative entertainment complexes are rapidly changing the face of Dubai emirate and are putting the Dubai property market on the world stage. The catalyst for much of this expansion, this paper argues, has been the emirate's decision to allow non-nationals to purchase freehold property. The paper concludes by questioning the sustainability of this growth but does not attempt to offer any answers, given its rollercoaster nature.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2006). Brownfield sites as building blocks for sustainable urban environments: a view on international experience in redeveloping former military sites. Urban Design International [Online] 11:117-128. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.udi.9000168.
    This paper picks the argument and rationale of military base redevelopment as one example of brownfield land regeneration, and adopts a comparative analysis using examples from the United Kingdom, Germany and Jordan to highlight experiences, lessons, and map out the potential for further study. Around the world, projects for redeveloping former military bases include new housing developments, shopping centres and universities alongside recreational facilities and museums. In addition to promoting government targets for brownfield housing development, the need to reduce Ministry of Defence spending has been the driving force in redeveloping military land in the UK. The case of Vauban (Germany) on the other hand clearly demonstrates how community involvement can play a central role in redeveloping a former military base. In the Jordanian case, the examination of available sources indicates that although development on military sites has been promoted by a political commitment to ‘sustainable’ urban regeneration, economic self-interest appears to triumph over environmental and community concerns in the conversion process. This has generally been developer driven. The paper goes on to argue that the challenge in military base conversion and redevelopment, like other brownfield sites, will be to guarantee competitive advantages through revenue-generating activities that can transform these sites into reliable and sustainable economic opportunities while looking after the interests of all the parties concerned.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2006). Ciudades sin ciudades: Puerto Dubai. Neutra 14:31-33.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2006). Evaluating the effects of ownership and use on the condition of property in the Old City of Jerusalem. Housing Studies [Online] 21:135-150. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/02673030500391254.
    This paper looks at the changing nature of ownership patterns in the Old City of Jerusalem from a historical perspective, the role of rent control and leasing arrangements, and assesses their impact on the maintenance and condition of property in the Old City. It investigates the nature of the institution of Muslim religious trusts (the waqf) in order to build up a picture of its transformation into a manager of housing in the Old City since 1967 focusing on the relationship between the shift of ownership from the public waqf to the private family waqf and the effects of this on the condition of the built environment. Although recent trends in the Middle East and some Muslim countries indicate a clear decline in the status of the waqf as an institution, this paper shows how, in Jerusalem, and in the Old City in particular, it has been flourishing since 1967. The paper offers some insights into the impact of the identified historical and legal factors on the condition of buildings and, by examining statistical evidence, finds a clear correlation between the ownership and use of buildings and their physical condition.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2006). Housing condition in the in the Old City of Jerusalem: an empirical study. Habitat International [Online] 30:87-106. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.habitatint.2004.06.005.
    This paper adopts an empirical research approach to present a profile of the conditions of the built environment in the Palestinian quarters of the Old City based on documentary evidence, interviews and field research. The built environment in this context refers to the buildings, structures, utilities, and services that enable people to live, work and play, circulate and communicate. Physical condition is measured in terms of the provision of space for living, the aesthetic qualities of buildings, the construction materials used, and the provision of services and environmental conditions.

    The paper's main findings are that there is sufficient empirical evidence to support the premise in the literature of growing disrepair in the physical fabric of the Old City but that this not due to any one overarching reason but rather to many acting in unison. The paper identifies financial, technical, social, political and legislative obstacles that stand in the way of carrying out repair and improvement work in the Old City.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2006). Redeveloping former military sites: competitiveness, urban sustainability and public participation. Cities [Online] 23:339-352. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2006.05.002.
    Redevelopment activities on former bases include new housing developments, industrial, training, educational and recreational facilities alongside retail and commercial quarters. This paper elaborates on the American roots and the rationale of military base redevelopment as one example of brownfield regeneration by adopting a comparative analysis using examples from the United Kingdom, Germany and Jordan to highlight experiences, lessons learnt and potential further study. In the UK, the policy to redevelop military land is driven by need to reduce government spending, income generation and promoting government targets for brownfield housing development. In the Jordanian case, the examination of available sources indicates that although development on military sites has been promoted by a political commitment to ‘sustainable’ urban regeneration, economic self-interest appears to triumph over environmental and community concerns in the conversion process. This has generally been developer driven. In sharp contrast to this, the case of Vauban in Germany clearly demonstrates how community activism can play a central role in redeveloping a military site. The paper goes on to argue that the challenge in military base redevelopment, like other brownfield sites, will be to guarantee competitive advantages through revenue-generating activities that can transform these sites into reliable economic opportunities while looking after the interests of all the parties involved.
  • Bagaeen, S., Frey, H., Ferguson, N. and Woods, L. (2006). Suburbs reconsidered: form, mobility and sustainability. Built Environment [Online] 32:250-266. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.2148/benv.32.3.250.
    Without a clearer understanding of the range of suburban typologies which presently exists and of the relationship between typology and travel behaviour it will be difficult to progress towards the development of appropriate strategies to reduce unnecessary travel by car. With this in mind it is valuable to develop a framework for a better representation of different suburban typologies and to examine the way in which personal mobility varies across these typologies. Five cities in the United Kingdom Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leicester, Oxford and Sheffield are examined in order to identify and characterize suburban typologies, and data from different surveys are used to analyse differences in travel to work journeys.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2004). Political conflict, town planning and housing supply in Jerusalem: the implications for the built environment in the Old City. City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action [Online] 8:197-219. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1360481042000242157.
    In this detailed demographic analysis of the current ethnic composition of Jerusalem, Samer Bagaeen looks at the highly problematic role of urban planning in ethnically polarized cities. He argues that “city planning [in Jerusalem] has been turned into a tool of the [Israeli] government to be used to help prevent the expansion of the city's non?Jewish population”. Palestinians have, as a result of national and municipal housing policies, been forced to live in cramped conditions, and according to the author's own surveys, overcrowding is now having a deteriorating effect on the physical fabric in the Palestinian quarters of the Old City. Jerusalem has been of ongoing concern for City and this paper is in some respects a continuation of Michael Safier's article on Jerusalem and cosmopolitan co?existence in Vol. 5, No. 2, 2001.Baga

Book section

  • Bagaeen, S. (2017). Reframing masterplanning in the Middle East. In: Rethinking Masterplanning: Creating Quality Places. London, UK: Institute of Civil Engineers. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1680/prmp.60715.149.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2017). Tourism development in Bahrain: Dealing with flux and transformation. In: Stephenson, M. and Al-Hamarneh, A. eds. International Tourism Development and the Gulf Cooperation Council States: Challenges and Opportunities. London, UK: Routledge. Available at: https://www.routledge.com/International-Tourism-Development-and-the-Gulf-Cooperation-Council-States/Stephenson-Al-Hamarneh/p/book/9781138023277.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2015). Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Qatar: Middle Eastern complexity and contradiction. In: Squires, G. and Heurkens, E. eds. International Approaches to Real Estate Development. London, UK: Routledge.
  • Frey, H. and Bagaeen, S. (2010). Adapting the city. In: Jenks, M. and Jones, C. eds. Dimensions of the Sustainable City. Springer, pp. 163-182. Available at: https://www.springer.com/gb/book/9781402086465.
  • Bagaeen, S. and Woods, L. (2008). Sustainability in the city region: toward a new way of thinking, planning and managing in Glasgow (Sostenibilidad en la region urbana: construyendo enscenarios para el dessarrollo sostenibile en Glasgow). In: Schoonjans, Y., Lievens, W., Cornona Martinez, A., Petric, J. and Pinheiro Machado, D. eds. Readings on Sustainability and Heritage - Architecture and Urban Culture in Latin America and Europe. Brussels, Belgium: School of Architecture, Saint Lucas, Brussels, pp. 167-193.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2006). Sustainability in the city region. In: TransUrban, T.U., Ed. Urban Culture in Focus. Vienna, Austria: Verlag des Instituts für Verleichende Architekturforschung, pp. 88-97.

Conference or workshop item

  • Bagaeen, S. (2007). Sustainable urban development: urban intensification in the city region. In: High Commission for the Development of Arriyadh, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, pp. 3-16.

Edited book

  • Bagaeen, S. (2016). Sustainable Regeneration of Former Military Sites. [Online]. Bagaeen, S. G. and Clark, C. eds. London, UK: Routledge. Available at: https://www.routledge.com/Sustainable-Regeneration-of-Former-Military-Sites/Bagaeen-Clark/p/book/9781138016521.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2015). Beyond Gated Communities. [Online]. Bagaeen, S. G. and Uduku, O. eds. London, UK: Routledge. Available at: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Beyond-Gated-Communities-by-Samer-Bagaeen-editor-Ola-Uduku-editor/9780415748247.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2010). Gated Communities: Social Sustainability in Contemporary and Historical Gated Developments (foreword by Saskia Sassen). Bagaeen, S. G. and Uduku, O. eds. London, UK: Earthscan- Routledge.


  • McCarthy, J. and Bagaeen, S. (2014). Sharing Good Practice in Town Planning Education. The Higher Education Academy. Available at: http://www.rtpi.org.uk/media/1936385/sharing-good-practice-in-planning-education1.pdf.


  • Bagaeen, S. (2014). Review of Demystefying Doha: On architecture and urbanism in an emerging city. Urban Studies [Online] 51:3497-3500. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0042098014550949.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2013). Review of Justice and the American metropolis. Urban Studies 50:1664-1666.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2013). Review of The Principles of Green Urbanism: Transforming the City for Sustainability. Urban Studies 50:1087-1089.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2011). Review of Towards the Healthy City: people, places and the politics of urban planning. Urban Studies [Online] 48:1293-1295. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0042098011400214.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2010). Review of European spatial research and planning. Urban Studies [Online] 47:220-222. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/00420980100470011104.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2009). Review of Green cities: urban growth and the environment. Journal of Urban Design [Online] 14:565-575. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13574800903265413.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2008). Review of Growing smarter: achieving livable communities, environmental justice and regional equity. Urban Studies [Online] 45:2879-2881. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/00420980080450131102.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2008). Review of Nature in fragments: the legacy of sprawl. Journal of Urban Design [Online] 13:147-157. Available at: http//doi.org/10.1080/13574800701803522.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2007). Review of City of collision: Jerusalem and the principles of conflict urbanism. Urban Studies [Online] 44:1620-1622. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00420980701385150.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2007). Review of Private cities: global and local perspectives. Urban Studies [Online] 44:199-200. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00420980601038503.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2007). Review of Smart and sustainable built environments. Journal of Urban Design 12:161-162.
  • Bagaeen, S. (2006). Review of Cities without cities: an interpretation of the Zwischenstadt. Planning theory and practice 7:482-483.
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