Maysa Phares


I always look beyond red line boundaries to bring a holistic approach to the places I work on.”

I am a reluctant “master” planner, a staunch generalist, and a committed story-teller.

Having come to urban design with an unorthodox background in geography, sustainability, communications and journalism, I always look beyond red line boundaries to bring a holistic approach to the places I work on. Working across scales and from the outside in is my biggest strength, whether it means interrogating the big picture drivers of change or identifying liminal places where special moments can happen on a scheme.

The most rewarding aspect of my work is to help infuse new life into a forgotten or undervalued piece of city or fringe. At SEW, I am privileged to be working with colleagues and clients who share my belief that place ultimately sets its own brief and that our role as designers is to shape malleable environments rather than plans; places that people can appropriate, nurture and adapt over time.

With over eight years of experience in the United Kingdom and internationally, I have had the chance to run complex projects across geographies and cultural settings, ranging in scale from the strategic to the local.

A number of places have shaped my outlook over time. I am currently the masterplanning lead of a 3,500-home hybrid planning application in London and a leading on a national placemaking vision for a major landowner. While at Farrells, I led the Northern Gateway Strategic Regeneration Framework which, in addition to providing 15,000 much-needed homes for Manchester, aspires to reveal a forgotten river valley corridor just north of the city centre. Previously at Dar, I helped reimagine the Old Port of Doha in Qatar in a proposal (now under construction) set to transform a disconnected part of the city into a cultural neighbourhood and cruise facility.

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