Dr Sara Hassan PhD, MSc, BSc

Business School
Research Fellow

Contact details

University of Birmingham
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Sara Hassan is a Research Fellow at City REDI with a strong multidisciplinary background: a Doctorate in Urban Transport Planning, a Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Landscape and a Bachelor in Architectural Engineering. Her research and teaching interests include a focus on urban and transport planning by developing innovative policy evaluation models and policy reform issues, policy analysis and how it impacts poor and marginalised communities, community development and urban planning. She also researches in the area of local economic development, migration and commuting. Her recent projects include £3.45 million ERDF funded project USE-IT! Unlocking Social and Economic Innovation Together looking at Urban Poverty in Birmingham. She has broad experience in teaching, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, including courses on urban and regional planning, urban regeneration, urban design and transport planning.


  • PhD in Planning and Environmental Management, 2016, School of Environment, Education and Development, The University of Manchester, Thesis Title: Decision-making for sustainable transport planning: reducing car-dependency culture in Alexandria, Egypt
  • MSc in Urban Planning and Landscape, 2011, Faculty of Engineering, Alexandria University, Thesis Title: Streetscape: An Approach for Improving Urban Quality in Alexandria
  • BSc ( 1st HONS) in Architectural Engineering, 2008, Faculty of Engineering, Alexandria University, The overall grade "First-class Honours", Thesis: Towards A Greener Alexandria, Recreational Tourist complex on Lake Mariout


Sara as a research fellow as part of Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, at the University of Birmingham in May 2017 on the USE-IT! (Unlocking ‎Social and Economic Innovation Together!) project. In this role, she engaged proactively with ‎colleagues as well as partner institutions and local NGOs. She is also responsible for the management and ‎administrative activities, including: leading, recruitment and delivery of Community researcher programme; project ‎management, engaging with different partners, contributing to school/ department meetings and organising events; ‎and preparing periodical reports and briefs. Through USE-IT! She contributed to knowledge transfer, enterprise, business and ‎public engagement. For example, she recruited and trained more than 60 local people with no history in research to ‎become community researchers in under a year. They are now being commissioned research projects and two of ‎them have started on CURS MSc in Urban Regeneration and Planning. I have also invited the CRs to enhance the ‎student experience by joining the final student project presentations and giving comments and feedback from a ‎community perspective. I have also been committed to presenting my research findings to both staff and students at ‎CURS where I was recently invited to deliver a lecture and workshop to 100 Urban Planning students.

Sara was awarded her PhD degree in July 2016 at the School of Environment, Education and Development SEED, ‎University of Manchester upon being awarded the competitive SEED PhD studentship award in September 2012. Her PhD research ‎developed a strong understanding of current conceptual debates within the urban planning policy, transport studies, ‎social diversity and critical urban studies. In her PhD, she developed a Stakeholder driven decision-making model SDDM to reconcile the ‎transport policy agenda with issues of social and economic sustainability through the stakeholder engagement ‎planning that empowers end-users. The SDDM builds on understanding mechanisms and theories of change that can ‎deliver sustainable outcomes. Her enthusiasm for knowledge transfer was proven when disseminating the findings of ‎her research by presenting to audiences from policy and academic backgrounds in seminars and through participating ‎in top level policy makers meetings encouraging the integration of poor and migrant communities. The outcomes of ‎this timely research were transport policy development and creation of evaluation models based on stakeholder ‎analysis. She has recently been granted a small fund award (£5000) from the Institute of Global Innovation Resilient ‎Cities theme to further validate and evaluate the model developed during her PhD.‎

She has ten years of teaching and research experience, developing creative research methods of interpretation and ‎analysis and applying them in her teaching. I have a solid track-record in publications not only proven by ‎publications in top rated journals but also through positive feedback and comments I received in International ‎conferences. For example, my paper ‘Streetscape Design Process in Constraint Environments’ was published in peer ‎reviewed ‘Spaces & Flows: An International Journal of Urban & Extra Urban Studies’. In addition, I currently have ‎papers under review in top tier journals such as Urban Studies, Spaces and Cultures, Transport Policy and Cities.


Sara has a track record in teaching and working hands on ‎with a number of student project work in Birmingham from undergraduates to postgraduates and also guided three ‎PhD students with their dissertations. She was also a Graduate Teaching Assistant at SEED, University of Manchester where she developed a variety of ‎teaching skills. She was responsible for designing course materials, delivering tutorials and assessing programmes such ‎as MSc Urban Design and International Planning and MSc Urban Regeneration and Development courses. ‎Moreover, She was responsible for planning, organising and conducting fieldtrips to different project sites. She managed ‎‎and led the planning student groups to different sites around Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and ‎Huddersfield. In ‎this role, she was also tutoring in designated drop-in sessions postgraduate international students to help them with ‎coursework ‎and essay submissions. In addition, she was a residential pastoral advisor (RPA) for students at Opal Hall ‎‎where she mentored and managed postgraduates from different cultural and ‎social backgrounds. At Alexandria University, she supervised ‎BSc urban design graduation projects for three years. Moreover, she has wide experience in urban design studio ‎teaching where she assessed project portfolios and sat on assessment panels. She organised the ‎Architectural Engineering ‎Department Annual showcase projects’ day for four years. Her ‎experience with hands on student project work enhanced ‎her students experience and international employability. ‎


Sara’s research interests include a focus on developing innovative community planning models and planning policy reform issues, policy analysis and how it impacts poor and vulnerable communities, community development and urban planning particularly in developing countries. Her research advances multidisciplinary approaches to urban and regional planning, urban design and transport planning.


Main Publications

  • Hassan, Sara and Wong, Cecilia (2019) “The Cultures of Decision-Making: A ‎qualitative study of urban transport projects in Alexandria, Egypt” Under Review, ‎Urban Studies
  • Hassan, Sara , O’Farrell, Liam and Lee, Peter (2019) "Universities as public space for co-production: ‎addressing (in)visibility of local communities and minority groups" Accepted for ‎submission to the special issue of Space and Culture
  • Hassan, Sara, Stein Heinmann, Alfredo & Wong, Cecilia (2019) “Challenges of car ‎dependency culture in Egypt: Transport Policy Review” will be submitted to Journal of ‎International Development, Working Paper
  • Hassan, Sara, El-Sayad, Zyad & Bakr, Ali. (2012) "Streetscape Design Process in ‎Constraint Environments" Spaces & Flows: An International Journal of Urban & Extra ‎Urban Studies 2.2, p.113-128 ‎
  • Workshop Book: Aly M. Hassan, Sara Aly M. Hassan, “Alexandria at the Beginning of ‎the Twentieth Century”, published by Goethe-Institute, Egypt

Other Publications

  • Contemporary Social Trends, Policy Initiatives and Planning Measures in Large Housing Estates 2019, “Engaging with Communities in Large Housing Estates, The Case of Ladywood Estate, Birmingham”, Tallinn, Estonia
  • PERCAT Early Career Conference 2018, “Realities of Collaborative Planning ‎with Communities in transition: The Case of USE-IT! Birmingham”, ‎Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • RSA Early Career conference 2015: From Early Careers to Established ‎Profiles: Strategies for Success, “Cultural policy and challenges of urban ‎transport: The Case of Alexandria, Egypt”, Sheffield, United Kingdom
  • Annual SEED PGR Conference: Making Social Impact, “Bridging the gap ‎between urban transport needs and policy in Egypt”, Manchester, United ‎Kingdom
  • International Planning Lectures: Systems and Frameworks, “Urban Planning ‎in Egypt: The unplanned and informal housing schemes”, Manchester, United ‎Kingdom
  • Spaces & Flows: An International Conference on Urban & ExtraUrban ‎Studies, "Streetscape Design Process in Constraint Environments", Prato, Italy‎
  • Youth Summit International Seminar, The third seminar on climate change, ‎UNEP, National Council for Youth, “ Climate Change mitigation using ‎sustainable urban transport : The case of lake Mariut eco-village”, Sharm El-‎Sheikh, Egypt
  • Goethe Institute Exhibition of Alexandria at the beginning of the twentieth ‎century, “Tracing early urban transport planning schemes in the 20th Century ‎Alexandria Municipality”, Alexandria, Egypt

View all publications in research portal