Dr Nicholas Simcik Arese is a Research Associate coordinating comparative topics and future's-oriented methods across ESRC Urban Transformations’ international portfolio, as well as managing partnerships with UN-Habitat.
His current ethnography explores conceptions of property and rights by aspirational middle class home-buyers and a group of urban poor squatters in a gated community in suburban Cairo during Egypt's 2011-13 revolutionary period. The project seeks to delineate how people imagine and enact their own laws in cities built from scratch amidst profound political ambiguity, towards re-calibrating dominant moral framings, social distinctions, and urban legitimacy. Other research interests include affordable mortgages as development aid, governance in public-private partnerships, gradations of plural ownership, the relationship between conspiratorial thought and planning, and the role of value and custom in speculation on urban futures, with a focus on Egypt and the Middle East.
Nicholas completed his DPhil in geography at the University of Oxford in 2016. He also practices as an architect (AADipl. RIBA II) and has consulted on urban planning and cultural embeddedness for non-governmental organisations in Egypt, Mexico, Vietnam, Italy, and the United States.