About Us

Public Works Studio is a multidisciplinary research and design studio that engages critically and creatively with a number of urban and public issues in Lebanon.

Through collaborating with a network of professionals ranging from historians and journalists to artists and filmmakers, the studio initiates research projects that study, shape and implement counter strategies to urban planning and policy making in Lebanon. The studio also offers commissioned professional services in graphic design, architecture, consultancy, development planning and research within a communal work environment.

Public Works was founded in 2012 by architect / urbanist Abir Saksouk and designer / urbanist Nadine Bekdache, and is currently registered as a non-commercial Civil Company. It balances between commissioned work and self-initiated projects, an autonomous framework that allows for new possibilities of discussion, exchange and engagement to emerge.


We acknowledge the political and social dimensions of our respective professions. As architects and urban planners we revive, defend and produce socially-inclusive and sustainable spaces. As graphic designers we create and produce accessible and socially-relevant representations for public circulation.

Our previous involvement in research projects testifies to a major rift between the inclusiveness and equality we strive for and the harsh realities of urban politics.

In an effort to bridge this rift, the production and dissemination of knowledge in the Arabic language are central to our work, as tools that actively contribute to shaping public opinion around spatial and urban issues. Such knowledge is also critical for influencing policy-making and to engage dwellers as informed and active agents within their lived environments.

As such, our work and the research we initiate are rooted in the belief that all dwellers have the right to play an active role in creating the future of their desired city. Our projects aim to forge possibilities that make urban planning a democratic process where ordinary citizens can understand, judge and take decisions to make interesting, viable and just spaces.



Joan Chaker

Joan Chaker is a historian and economist currently working on her PhD dissertation, “A Muleteers’ History of Global Capitalism: Social, Environmental, and Cultural Transformation in Nineteenth-Century Lebanon.” More generally, her research interests range from the legal history of money, to the history of capitalism, and Ottoman history. In a previous incarnation, she worked as a money-markets trader between Amsterdam and London.


Josette Khalil

With over 15 years in the design industry, Josette Khalil leads the product development and R&D effort at Megaphone News (Lebanon). Her personal research and digital arts practice addresses the intersection of subjectivity, agency, history and technology. In recent years, her expanding interest in socio-political and community work led her to focus on user experience and media design.


Muzna Al-Masri

Muzna Al-Masri is an anthropologist, researcher and consultant who has consulted for several local, international and UN agencies. Her research interests include everyday political practice and clientelism, and the intersection of conflict and politics with humanitarian aid and energy. She holds an MA in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding from the Eastern Mennonite University and a PhD in Anthropology from Goldsmiths, University of London and is a co-founding member of the Ethnography as knowledge in the Arab World Working Group.


Rana Hassan

Rana Hassan is a community facilitator and urban researcher. With an academic background in Urban Studies, her research and practice in that area focuses on urban social movements, feminist urbanisms, informal settlements and participatory planning. More recently, she’s been focusing on group facilitation; she joined forces with other trainers and facilitators, co-founding a cooperative that is dedicated to community facilitation from a feminist perspective with a focus on supporting cooperatives and horizontal groups, as well as movement building.


Lama Karamé

Lama Karamé is a lawyer and researcher, with extensive experience in strategic litigation and legal advocacy. She is a board member of The Legal Agenda, where she previously litigated various landmark cases, including lawsuits that challenged encroachments on public property in Lebanon. Lama is currently pursuing her PhD in Socio-Legal Studies at the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the Department of Criminology, Law and Society at George Mason University, Virginia – USA.

Executive Management


Abir Saksouk

Co-Director and Head of Research Department

Abir graduated as an architect in 2005, and later did her masters in Urban Development Planning. She is the co-founder of Public Works Studio. Her primary focus includes urbanism and law, property and shared space, and the right to the city of marginalized communities. She is active in exploring how local organizing could be employed in actively shaping the future of cities. Abir is also a member of the Legal Agenda and a co-founder of Dictaphone Group. 


Nadine Bekdache

Co-director and Head of Communication and Design Unit

Nadine is a practicing designer and urbanist, and co-founder of Public Works Studio. She researches socio-spatial phenomena through multidisciplinary methods; including mapping, imagery and film as both processes of investigation and representation. As part of her research on urban displacement, she authored “Evicting Sovereignty: Lebanon’s Housing Tenants from Citizens to Obstacles”, and co-directed “Beyhum Street: Mapping Place Narratives”. Nadine is also a graphic design instructor at the Lebanese University.


Lama El Hajjar

Office and Finance Manager

Lama is an Economics graduate from Saint Joseph University, with over nine years experience in the banking sector. She switched careers with the aim of engaging in the social and economic grievances partially caused by that sector itself, something that would also help her get am imcreased job satisfaction. Lama currently oversees all areas of finance and administration at Public Works. She also handles the Human Resources procedures.

Research Unit


Tala Alaeddine

Research Unit Coordinator and Researcher

Tala graduated with a Master’s degree in Architecture from the Lebanese University, Faculty of Architecture and Fine Arts Branch II (2017), and received Academic excellence certificates and Scholarships from The Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development and the Lebanese American University. Her work focuses on land and housing issues in Lebanon, and includes studying and analyzing Lebanese regional masterplans, monitoring planning institutions practices, and advocating for participatory approaches in planning and reconstruction.


Jana Haidar

Housing Monitor Coordinator and Casework Manager

Jana is an architect and urban researcher. She completed her MA in Architecture at the Faculty of Architecture and Fine Arts of the Lebanese University and has been working on projects covering the topics of national urban planning practices, housing policies and displacement, urban transformation, and history. She is also the creator of Beirut Architecture Tours that explores the urban planning history of Beirut.


Rayan Alaeddine


Rayan is a civil engineer holding a Master’s degree in public works and road planning from the Lebanese University (2019), and a dual Master’s degree in geotechnical engineering from the University of Lille-France and the Lebanese University (2021). Using a variety of research and fieldwork tools, she is interested in discovering the dynamics of the urban environment, while adapting it to the fair and just use of people and all living creatures. Her work also includes monitoring and observing the changes of various urban elements and factors.


Christina Abou Rouphaël


Christina is an architect and urban researcher who graduated with a Master’s degree in Architecture (2015) and Urban Planning (2017) from the Faculty of Architecture and Fine Arts of the Lebanese University. She is currently working on various research projects related to urban issues, public property and the right to the city.


Maya Saba Ayon

Legal Researcher and Casework Manager

Maya is a law graduate from the Filière Francophone de Droit. She is a legal researcher with a focus on Housing laws, the local housing legal framework and its compliance with international human rights standards. A Casework Manager, Maya is the link between the Housing Monitor and The Right to Housing Legal Task Force, where she is tasked with legal referrals, following up on legal interventions and documenting their results.


Yara Abdelkhalek

Land Policy Observatory Coordinator and Coordinator of Advocacy and Community Work

Yara is an architect and urban researcher who graduated with a MA in Architecture from the Lebanese University in 2017, and a MA in Urban Planning in 2023. She is interested in urban activism and the way in which local organizing shapes the city. Her work focuses on urbanism in relation to law and the state, using a lens on the right to the city violation, as well as networking to raise advocacy on urban-related issues.


Lama Abou Ibrahim

Database Manager

Lama is an architect and urban researcher. She graduated with a Master’s degree in architecture from the Lebanese University in 2016, and is a political and social activist. Through her work and activity, she aims to create inclusive safe cultural spaces, specifically for women and marginalized communities, capable of preserving their right to expression and to live freely in a fair atmosphere. Through her work as a “database manager”, she also seeks to adapt technology and artificial intelligence to what is in the interest and benefit of society.


Kamila El Khechen

Hotline Operator

Kamila is an Architect and Urban Planner, she got her architectural engineering degree from the Beirut Arab University in 2018, and her Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Development from the Lebanese University in 2021. She has a vast interest in housing, and believes housing is a basic human right. She is currently overseeing the Housing Monitor hotline operations, training new volunteers and monitoring hotline tasks in coordination with casework managers.


Riad Ismail El Ayyoubi

Caseworker (Consultant)

Riad works as a caseworker based in Tripoli. His research interests include studying the social and political history of cities in the eastern Arab world, as well as the trilateral relationship connecting the built environment, people, and language(s), all in order to push for the reclamation of (historical) tools in populating the earth, and tools to dismantle the oppressive modes of (private) property, and the divisive binary of individual and communal interests, such as land revival and innovative imaginaries. He is also a member of Kohl’s translation team and has translated a number of articles on subjects including Feminism, anti-colonialism, and biopolitics.


Sarah Kahlil

Caseworker (Consultant)

Sarah works as a caseworker in the Housing Monitor team. She is a graduate of the Faculty of Sciences at the Lebanese University, where she majored in chemistry. However, she volunteered to participate in social work starting in 2019, and then started working with Public Works in 2023.

Communication & Design Unit


Jana Mezher

Communication Unit Coordinator and Designer

Jana holds an MA in art direction from the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts – (ALBA). She enjoys focusing her energy on exploring the city in its diverse and sometimes irreconcilable layers and excavating the forgotten stories within. Talk to her for hours about Anthropology, Politics, or History and she will not get bored.


Asmaa Ghrawi


Asmaa is a visual designer, storyteller, and animator. She holds a BT and a BA in Graphic Design. She focuses on visually portraying social and environmental issues. Working with PW made her realize she likes working on maps. She is working on her personal comic about her journey with the stutter. Asmaa also likes looking at old architecture while taking long walks in the city.


Jana Nakhal

Magazine Editor-In-Chief (Consultant)

Jana is an urban planner and researcher. She published in several Lebanese and regional newspapers and magazines on urban and feminist issues.
Her research focuses on housing, public spaces, heritage and culture from an intersectional feminist perspective. She is specifically interested in the concepts of ecofeminism, reproductive work and the domestic space and organizes trainings on intersectional feminism, agroecology and ecofeminism. Jana is also on the editorial board of Watch, FIAN’s journal. She is a PhD student at Ljubljana University, and wishes to become a witch one day.


Raji Keyrouz

Content Creator (Consultant)

Raji is a journalist with an interest in politics and human rights. Holding a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Lebanese University, he is currently completing his master’s in Information and Communication Sciences. Raji is a content creator at Public Works Studio, where he helps in crafting engaging content for PW’s social media platforms. Raji aims to balance simplicity and depth to help PW reach a broader audience.