Houda Hissar is an urbanist, based in Rabat where she lives and works.
Trained in political science and urbanism, she is interested in social and environmental questions related to the processes of urbanization.
In Cairo, Houda Hissar worked on the marginalized status of zabbalines (“ragmen”) in the precarious neighborhood of Mancheyet Nasser. In Algiers, she studied the social stigma and the practices of the inhabitants in a so-called resettlement city inherited from the colonial period, where families in transit had been installed in a precarious situation that was to last.
These experiences have led her to take an interest in changing urban spaces, as well as in so-called dominated or subaltern populations, in the different ways in which protest and resistance can manifest, and in the strategies of so-called ordinary city dwellers.
In France, she has worked in working-class neighborhoods and has been interested in participatory approaches in urban construction. She was co-founder of the multidisciplinary collective “Capacités”, whose motto is “the city by all and for all”, and of the association Alfenzine, based in the Moroccan High Atlas, whose aim is to promote know-how as a matrix for local development. She has experimented with ways of making sense, of linking needs, expectations, social organisation and spatial projects.
Today, the question of climate change and the role of anthropogenic activities in this unravelling of the world, this state of shared vulnerability¹, plays a growing role in the way she questions her practice and her profession. She is particularly interested in narratives, imaginaries, and their influence on the evolution of urban worlds and on our presence in the world.
Houda Hissar explores the possibility of taking a step aside and moving out from the mainstream narrative, of making intelligible the diversity of urban realities, of imagining sustainable futures – just, livable, and inhabitable.