Public defence in Architecture, Landscape and Urbanism, Architect M.Sc. Hossam Hewidy

A recent dissertation shows shortcomings in the city's ability to take into account the diversity of urban space.

Architect M.Sc. Hossam Hewidy will defend the thesis "The hidden city of immigrants in Helsinki's urban leftovers: The homogenization of the city and the lost diversity" on 12 August 2022 at 12:00 in Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Architecture, in lecture hall T2, Konemiehentie 2, Espoo, and online in Zoom.

Opponent: Prof. Zhixi Cecilia Zhuang, School of Urban & Regional Planning, Ryerson University, Canada
Custos: Prof. Kimmo Lapintie, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Architecture

The public defence will be organized via remote technology. Follow defence:
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Thesis available for public display at:
Doctoral theses in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture:

Press release:

The increase in the number of city dwellers with an immigrant background is reflected in the diversification of Helsinki's urban space. Concentrations of services related to foreign cultures have emerged in different parts of Helsinki. Such services, whether secular or spiritual, represent the spatialization of multiculturalism and are an important part of the daily lives of city dwellers. Over the last two decades, such concentrations have been identified especially in old shopping malls and residential business centers. In a recent dissertation, Hossam Hewidy from Aalto University examines urban change and related issues through these concentrations. Currently, Finnish urban planning lacks a clear vision to support the emergence of multiculturalism. The dissertation seeks to fill this gap and raise awareness on the issue of multicultural planning. Ultimately, it is a question of equality: the equal right of every citizen to urban space and whether planning can be culturally neutral. The dissertation focuses on immigrants’ entrepreneurial clusters and the spatial transformation caused by them. The results of the study show that such transformation, with its symbolic and spatial features, is enterprising and innovative, as well as a logical consequence of immigrants’ under-representation in the labor market. Immigrants’ entrepreneurial clusters have boosted the vitality of many residential areas. They have contributed to the emergence of places and served as a starting point for the revival of active urban life in many areas. Despite this, services related to different cultures in Helsinki are under threat in many of these concentrations. The results of the study further show that urban planning has failed to take multiculturalism into account in a growing city. The city pursues a policy of responding to segregation, and the measures to limit it are destabilizing multiculturalism. The data shows that this phenomenon is reflected in both traditional design and alternative design methods, such as scenario planning and urban planning competitions. Urban planning processes have simply failed to consider immigrants in urban development. Doctoral researcher Hossam Hewidy argues that in Helsinki both the lack of political will and the fear of segregation have led to ignoring the immigrants’ right to the city.

Contact information of doctoral candidate:

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