Nicholas Simcik Arese


Nicholas is an urban theorist, ethnographer, and architect with interest in improvised city planning, the commons, property theory, and popular notions of value and morality in the built environment. His main specialisation is in cities of the Middle East and North Africa – having conducted extensive field work in Cairo, as well as in Doha and Beirut – where he combines scholarship in anthropology and legal geography to understand how people re-purpose cities built from scratch. Of related interest, then, are the urban poor, new global middle classes, migration, and international development.

For PEAK Urban, he is researching the relationship between digital technology and evictions in Medellin, Colombia, towards developing experimental property rights arrangements. This frames an ongoing effort to articulate methodological principles for an “architectural social science,” combining ethnography, building practices, and data modelling to predict the effects of planning policy and speculate on possible city futures.

Nicholas is University Lecturer in Architecture & Urbanism at the University of Cambridge.

Oxford OX