Mahyar Arefi received his Ph.D. in planning from the University of Southern California in 1999, and is a freelance scholar, planner and urban designer. He taught at the University of Texas at Arlington (2016-2019), the University of Cincinnati (1999-2016), and is a co-editor of Urban Design International. In addition to having been an affiliate of Civitas Athenaeum Laboratory at KTH, Sweden, he was a Fulbright scholar in Istanbul Technical University (2006-07), and has peer-reviewed for the Fulbright and the Global Innovation Initiative grant. He has also taught planning at the University of Sharjah (2009-11), and the American University of Sharjah (2013-14). Dr. Arefi has published extensively in academic journals including Planning Education & Research, Town Planning Review, Journal of Urban Design, Cities, Cityscape, Planning Theory and Practice, and specializes in the areas of urban design theory, practice, and pedagogy, place and placemaking, community and international development, and informal settlements. He published Asset-based Approaches to Community Development with the UN HABITAT in 2008, and his recent books include: “Learning from Informal Settlements in Iran: Models, Policies & Processes” (2018), and a co-edited volume: “The Palgrave Handbook of Bottom-Up Urbanism” (2019). His other book “Deconstructing Placemaking: Needs, Assets, and Opportunities” (2014) was the recipient of two international awards in 2015 and 2019. He is currently working on a book on informal urban design.