Farah has always been intrigued by how the spaces where we live, work and play have an impact on us; on how we feel and how it impacts our productivity. She shared, “Being part of the engineering industry gives me an opportunity to make a difference and a direct access to projects in which I can help design spaces that can have positive impact on people.”
Farah helped deliver the first BREEAM Communities certified project in the Middle East – the Al Zahia Master Plan. BREEAM is the world’s first and leading sustainability assessment method for masterplanning projects, infrastructure and buildings. It recognises and reflects the value in higher performing assets across the built environment lifecycle, from new construction to in-use and refurbishment She explained, “This required taking sustainability criteria that was developed for the UK and making it relevant to the UAE context. A major component of this required research and consultation with various stakeholders involved in the project. I was able to connect with the people involved in the project and convey the outcome of discussions to the certifying body in the UK. The result was a sustainable development that enhanced the life quality of its inhabitants. This also exemplifies a really important quality of sustainability which is flexibility. I firmly believe that in-context solutions are often the most sustainable.” As a result of this project, Farah was the first certified BREEAM Communities Assessor in the UAE.
Farah is passionate about sustainability and its social aspect – the people, “While I acknowledge that the environmental and economic aspect are of equal importance, I believe that at present, less focus is given to the people who can actually increase the environmental and economic value of projects.”
She is always on the lookout for social projects to take part in where she can have a positive impact on people. She shared, “I took part in DESMEEM, a project initiated by the MENA Design Research Center in Lebanon. It is a collaborative effort with European designers & Lebanese NGOs to work on cultural & societal themes. I worked on the electricity and water problem which is an infamous political issue in Lebanon. The project resulted in a user-friendly, in-cultural monitoring tool that helps people keep an eye on their consumption as well as the government outage times. I was also involved with Habitat for Humanity and took part in the volunteering activity in Jordan where I, along with 6 other WSP employees, helped build houses for the less fortunate.”