Maisa Jarjous | American University of Sharjah

Masterplanning communities for a sustainable world

Maisa Jarjous

College of Architecture, Art and Design
Master of Urban Planning Program

Returning to AUS after graduating in 2006 with a Bachelor of Architecture was an easy decision for Maisa Jarjous. With a seasoned career in architecture and project management, and now armed with a Master of Urban Planning from the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD), Jarjous feels well prepared to pursue an advanced career in sustainable urban and community development.

“Programs at CAAD are meant to build on the theoretical understanding of design methods and practical application of creative skills in a variety of industries. CAAD programs provide the ability to acquire many useful skills. For example, practice in critical thinking and problem-solving, the ability to adapt to the needs of different environments, and understanding how to collaborate effectively with other professionals are all valuable qualities that can help build successful careers upon graduation,” she said.

“As an MUP graduate, I aim to raise awareness on how an aspect of urbanism such as sustainable water management practices relate to climate change, which was part of my thesis project, and become an advocate for consumer behavioural change through various educational networks,” said Jarjous.

With 15 years’ experience as a project architect working with international consultants in the region, Jarjous has had the opportunity to assist senior project managers on education, mix-used master plans and city planning projects. This entailed seeing each project through from concept through to completion, and ensuring they were delivered on time, within budget and to the highest of international standards. Her work includes the Uptown Motor City High Street, GFH (Gulf Financial House) Mixed-use Masterplan and GEMS International School in Al Khail Road in Dubai, UAE, as well as the GEMS Our Own and Westminster schools in Waqeer, Qatar, and the Salalah Master Plan Project, in Muscat, Oman.

It was this exposure to masterplanning projects that led Jarjous to pursue the MUP full-time, while working part-time as a graduate assistant. Studying during a pandemic has been the catalyst for some fascinating insights on how urban planners might sustainably shape communities in a post-COVID world.

“For me, the highlight of the MUP experience was interacting with students from other majors and together addressing real-world social, cultural and economic issues within the primary concern of public service,” said Jarjous.

“The program also provided tools of urban planning to help fight epidemics in the search of a new type of inclusive city in socially responsible societies not limiting the concerns to design and land use. This was one of my outstanding realizations,” she said.

A committed AUSer, Jarjous has been an active member of the AUS alumni community as a CAAD Chapter Representative over the years—something she plans to continue.

“On this occasion, it brings me a tremendous honor to announce that I won the AUSAA Council elections by acclamation for a two-year term effective June 1, 2021. I look forward to future collaborations with AUS and CAAD alumni through this platform,” she said.

New CAAD graduates can connect with Maisa and other CAAD alumni by emailing [email protected].