Nezar AlSayyad is a Professor of Architecture, City Planning, Urban Design, and Urban History. He is Faculty Director of the Center for Arab Societies and Environments Studies (CASES), the Urban Design Graduate Group (MUD) and the International Area Studies Graduate Group (IAS). For almost two decades AlSayyad also chaired the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Berkeley leading it to International standing. In 1988, AlSayyad founded the area of Environmental Design and Urbanism in Developing Countries (EDUDC) in the College of Environmental Design, an interdisciplinary area of research and practice that connects history, theory, social processes, and design. In the same year he co-founded the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments (IASTE), a scholarly association with hundreds of members concerned with the study of indigenous vernacular and popular built environments around the world. He now serves as the Association’s President and CEO and is the editor of its distinguished refereed journal Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review
AlSayyad also maintains a small architecture and urban design practice XXA - The Office of Xross-Xultural Architecture which provides design and consulting work to various clients in the US and several Developing Countries.
Educated as an architect, planner, urban designer and historian, AlSayyad is principally an urbanist whose specialty is the study of cities, their urban spaces, their social practices and their economic realities. As a scholar, AlSayyad has authored and edited several books on colonialism, identity, Islamic architecture, tourism, tradition, urbanism, urban design, urban history, urban informality, and virtuality. He has also produced and co-directed two public television video documentaries: “Virtual Cairo” and “At Home with Mother Earth.” Among his numerous grants are those received from the U.S. Department of Education, NEA — Design Arts Program, Getty Grant Program, the Graham Foundation, the SSRC, and a Guggenheim fellowship. His awards include the BeitAlQuran Medal from Bahrain, the Pioneer American Society Book Award, the American Institute of Architects Education Honors, and the Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest honor the University of California bestows on its faculty.