Shahab Albahar


Bourbon Coffee
2101 L Street
Washington, DC
United States


Ph.D. Candidate in the Constructed Environment


Shahab is a Ph.D. Candidate in urban planning and policy at the University of Virginia. His research critiques the heteronormative frameworks of spatial planning and public policy. Using the case of the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Area (DMV), Shahab explores the ways urban interventions and spatial practices in the American capital are implicated in the production of ever-shifting conceptions of citizenship at the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality. Using interdisciplinary methods, Shahab aims to "spatialize" the life narratives of trans women of color (TWOC), and more broadly trans women living or residing in the DMV. The interventional framework of the study and Shahab's commitment to promoting greater urban justice for marginalized social groups is premised on a strong belief that trans spatial experiences are critical for the advancement of knowledge within the fields of planning and transgender studies. The project proposes an activist agenda that advocates for greater trans inclusion in matters concerning spatial transformation and urban politics.

Shahab holds a Masters of Landscape Architecture from Harvard University (2015), and a dual Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design (2012). Prior to pursuing a doctorate degree in 2017, Shahab taught courses in architectural design and theory in his hometown at Kuwait University's College of Architecture. During the time spent in Kuwait, Shahab co-founded Parallel Studio, an architectural design practice that completed several projects in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Alongside teaching, Shahab led a series of workshops in 3D-software modeling as well as visual representation programs. Starting in 2015, Shahab is a Managing Director at in-maginative, an education-focused consulting group developing educational and career mentorship programs for many aspiring college applicants: