Sandra Hiari graduated from the Masters of Urban Design Program in 2008
Why did you choose SSA?
In tandem with searching for a graduate program, I was providing editorial support for the Amman-based non-profit, the Center for the Study of the Built Environment, for the book Architectural Criticism and Journalism: Global Perspectives where I came across CCNY in the credentials section. Needless to say that was the thread that led me to look up its graduate Urban Design Program, which was in New York City, about New York City, and beyond.
What’s the favorite project you worked on during your time at SSA?
Professor Michael Sorkin’s rendition of Exquisite Corpse – an exercise that we collectively worked on as students to build and plan an imaginary city based on a set of rules and codes that attempted to discover the possibilities for futuristic urban settings.
What have you been doing since you graduated from SSA?
I have served as the Head of the Planning & Design Department at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Jordan. Also, I have worked on the Amman 2025 Master Plan as well as the Madinah Al Munawarah Central Area Plan in Saudi Arabia. Currently, I work as an urban development consultant at the World Bank.
What current developments in the field do you find the most exciting?
Developments pertinent to linkages between new forms of city living versus new forms of completely automated transportation systems, food-production systems, and energy generation schemes.
How did SSA prepare you for your current position?
The multidisciplinary approach in examining design beyond the physical aspect, specifically through psychology, geography, and literature has informed my understanding of design beyond normative discourses and thus enabled me to communicate projects I work on to stakeholders from standpoints that resonate with wider community interests.
How do you stay involved with SSA?
I keep in touch with professors from time to time.
What advice do you have for current SSA students?
Let go of your preconceptions as you embark on a graduate program. Trust it to stretch your perception into new dimensions.