Impact KAEC Challenge

This Challenge brought 5 candidates from top engineering, architecture and design, and urban planning graduate schools from around the world to spend one week in October 2015 in King Abdullah Economic City, offering them a unique in-depth look into KAEC’s strategies, priorities and challenges.

At the end of the week, candidates were given one main challenge that KAEC faces and collectively devised urban initiatives that could be implemented to address the challenge. Key recommendations were presented by the Impact KAEC team at Cityquest-KAEC Forum, December 8-10, 2015.



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Meet the 2015 Impact KAEC Challenge Team

Sara Alkayali Alalam

Sara Alkayali Alalam is a Masters Student in Civil Engineering in the University of Texas at Austin graduating in May 2016, and is specializing in Construction Engineering and Project Management. Sara is also working on a certificate in Decision Analysis from the Operations Research and Industrial Engineering Department in the University of Texas at Austin. As such, her graduate research will focus on decision analysis for construction. She has also developed a strong interest in public private partnerships in the transportation industry, and in affordable housing.

In 2014, at the American University of Beirut (AUB), she graduated with a high distinction in Civil Engineering and is the recipient of the Youssef Salam Engineering Excellence Award. Sara has interned for one of the largest engineering consulting firms in Sweden. In her free time, she likes to read, draw, and travel. Sara was born and raised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, but is originally from Syria.

Yi Li

Yi Li is currently pursuing her concurrent degree in Master of Architecture and Master of Design in Real Estate and Built Environment at Graduate School of Design, Harvard University. Born and raised in China, she traveled, studied and worked in various countries before coming back for graduate study. Her current interests lies in finding synergies between design and traditional real estate development and food infrastructural studies. During her time at GSD, she traveled to India and Mexico City on fellowships conducting research on local food infrastructure.

Mike Angrove

Mike studied urban planning at McGill University in Montreal, graduating with a Master of Urban Planning in April 2013. Shortly after graduating, Mike worked for a Business Improvement Area in Ottawa, focused on creating a strategy to activate their newly revitalized main street and public spaces. More recently, Mike has worked as an urban planner for the City of Calgary in Alberta.

In his spare time, Mike enjoys the sport of running. Last year he ran his first marathon and qualified for the prestigious Boston marathon, which he will run in April 2016.

Marc-Edouard Schultheiss

Marc-Edouard is a Masters student in Civil Engineering and Architecture at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland. He is French and 23 years old. His bachelor thesis focussed on transportation and his experience includes working as a project manager assistant in a major french architect’s office and participating in a living-lab in India. His professional and research interests include innovation and creativity, technologies for development and women empowering. He sees his role as to try to gather cultural, artistic and scientist skills to be able to communicate and work with all the major actors from building to urban scale projects.

Pradipta Banerjee

Pradipta holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rabindra Bharti University, Kolkata, a Bachelor in Architecture with a minor in Civil Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, and a Masters in Urban Design from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. Originally from Kolkata, raised in Bangalore, and currently living in Pittsburgh, he has travelled extensively across India, Sri Lanka and Spain in pursuit of architecture and culture. He has worked extensively on design and construction of projects and during his work, vitality of the street life became a growing interest. He believes that “Sculptural Architecture for the Public” can dispel the mundane, and create spaces that are places where people are drawn to. Pradipta now works extensively on bringing computational design tools into urban design – be it to create parametric forms which respond to the elements, or simulate iterative built environments to study user behavior.

Perspectives from the Impact KAEC Team