Saba Golchehr


Research Associate
PhD Candidate


Saba Golchehr is a recent PhD graduate from the Royal College of Art in the School of Architecture and a Research Fellow in the EU Marie Curie project TRADERS. Her research questions how designers can find new agency within the digital data reality in today's cities, by critically adopting a data-driven approach in order to instigate social change, restore power equillibriums and increase democracy in the design and development of the built environment.

She holds a BSc in Architecture and a MSc in Urbanism (Spatial Planning and Strategy) from Delft University of Technology, where she graduated with distinction in 2012. The theme of her Master’s thesis was integration and empowerment of the excluded, for which she received the national Urbanism Award for best thesis. Her research investigated new ways to involve marginalised groups in urban regeneration by enabling their participation in the planning of their neighbourhoods and, in particular, the creation of local public spaces. 

In 2013, she worked as a junior researcher in the Department of Real Estate and Housing at Delft University of Technology. Here, she researched the relationship between cities and corporations in the planning of corporate real estate as part of the Corporations and Cities project.


PhD Candidate
 Royal College of Art - School of Architecture. 2014 - 2019
'DATA FOR DESIGN - Critically Adopting Data-Driven Approaches for Long-term Citizen Participation and Sustainability in Design for the Public Realm'

Master of Science Urbanism Delft University of Technology - Faculty of Architecture. 2009 - 2012
Average grade: 8.3
Graduation grade: 9.0, with honours
1st Prize Urbanisme Award 2012
Archiprix 2013 Nominee

Bachelor of Science Architecture Delft University of Technology - Faculty of Architecture. 2005 - 2009


forthcoming. From Common Space to Private Sphere - The Changing Realm of Grocery Shopping. In: BOELEN, J. and KAETHLER, M. (eds.) 'Social Matter, Social Design'. Amsterdam: Valiz.

GOLCHEHR, S. 2019. Data for Design - Adopting Data-Driven Approaches for Long- Term Citizen Participation and Social Sustianability in Design for the Public Realm. PhD DIssertation. London: Royal College of Art. 

GOLCHEHR, S. & BUENO DE MESQUITA, N. 2018. Data-driven Design for Civic Participation – Introducing Digital Methods for On-going Civic Engagement for Design in Public Space. In: DEVISCH, O., HUYBRECHTS, L. and DE RITTER, R. (eds.) ‘Participatory Design Theory’. Oxon: Routledge.

GOLCHEHR, S. 2017. Design From The Inside-Out – Critically Adopting Big Data Methods. In: HAMERS, D., BUENO DE MESQUITA, N., VANEYCKEN, J. and SCHOFFELEN, J. (eds.) 'Trading Places: Practices of Public Participation in Art and Design Research'. Barcelona: dpr-barcelona.

GOLCHEHR, S. 2017. 'Data holds power. But the most important thing is the story you tell with it.' Interview with Saba Golchehr by Rosanna Vitiello for Local Legends, 7 September.

GOLCHEHR, S. 2017. Kitchen Budapest (KiIBu): Hyperlocal Civic Platforms. In: DE WAAL, M. and FERRI, G. (eds.) 'A Lab of Labs: Methods and Approaches for a Human-Centered Design'. Amsterdam: Amsterdam Creative Industry Publishing.

GOLCHEHR, S. (Ed.) 2016. Proceedings of the 'MEDIAITONS - Art & Design Agency and Participation in Public Space' Conference, London, United Kingdom. 21-22 November 2016. London: Royal College of Art.

KAETHLER, M. & GOLCHEHR, S. 2016. Correlation Is Dismantling Our Urban Narratives: A Lament And A Plea. In: BERLOTTI, E., DAAM, H., PIREDDA, F. and TASSIRANI, V. (eds.) 'The Pearl Diver - The Designer As Storyteller'. Volume 1. 2016. DESIS Network – Design for Social Innovations and Sustainability. pp.120-127.

GOLCHEHR, S. & CALDERÓN, P. 2016. Do Citizens Dream Of A Control Room? Imagining An Alternative ‘Smart City’. In: Proceedings of the 'Political Imagination And The City' Conference, Santiago de Chile, Chile. 7-8 July 2016.

GOLCHEHR, S. & BUENO DE MESQUITA, N. 2015. Introducing Digital Methods For On-going Civic Engagement For Design In Public Space: How Mining And Mapping Social Media Data Can Help Inform Spatial Designers About A Local Context. In: Proceedings of the 'Design, Social Media And Technology To Foster Civic Self-Organisation' Conference. Hasselt, Belgium. 9 May 2015.

ARNOLD, J. M. J. & GOLCHEHR, S. 2014. Exploring levels of participation in urban regeneration. In: Proceedings of the EAAE/ISUF International Conference 'New Urban Configurations'. Delft, The Netherlands. 2012. Delft University of Technology.

GOLCHEHR, S. 2013. Master Thesis: Is integration and empowerment of the excluded needed? Atlantis. Magazine by Polis. Platform for Urbanism. Delft.

GOLCHEHR, S. 2013. Master Thesis: Is Integration And Empowerment Of The Excluded Needed? Vitale Stad, 16. Amersfoort.

GOLCHEHR, S. 2012. Activating Awareness: Emphasizing on the qualities of individuality. In: ROCCO, R. (ed.) Research and Design Methodology for Urbanism 'Best Essays 2009-2012'. Delft: Delft University of Technology.

GOLCHEHR, S. 2012. Spatial concentration: problem or opportunity? The socio-spatial
concentration and integration of ethnic groups in the Netherlands. In: ROOIJ, R. & FERNANDEZ, A. M. (eds.) Proceedings of the '9th Conference Graduation Lab Urbanism'. Delft, The Netherlands. February 2012. Delft University of Technology.

GOLCHEHR, S. 2010. Westgrens Haarlem. In: DE BOIS, P. (ed.) 123 Analyse Haarlem. Den Haag: CIP-Data Koninklijke Bibliotheek.

GOLCHEHR, S. & et al. 2009. Liveliness analysis Zoetermeer. In: DE BOIS, P., KOEHLER, M., DE BONTH, L., DE GEUS, M. & NABER, N. (eds.) Exploring the Public City: Zoetermeer 2009. Delft: Publication Department Faculty of Architecture.

Honours, Awards & Recognitions

EU Multi-ITN FP-7 Marie Curie Fellowship 2014
 – Royal College of Art, 2014-2017
EU Research Fellow for EU Marie Curie project TRADERS

Metten Stein + Design Urban Planning Award 2012Knowledge Lab for Urbanism, 12/2012 
First prize - Annual national award for best thesis in the field of urban planning and design

Archiprix 2013Delft University of Technology, 09/2012
Nominee for Archiprix 2013

Best paper - Delft University of Technology, Department of Urbanism, 01/2012
Awarded best paper for the 9th Conference Graduation Lab Urbanism 2012

Best essay - Delft University of Technology, Department of Urbanism, 06/2010
Awarded best essay on pedagogy for the research and design methodology course of the Urbanism Master programme

Professional experience

PhD & Research Associate EU Traders-program 
Royal College of Art, School of Architecture. 2014
TRADERS – short for ‘Training art and design researchers in participation for public space’ – is an EU Multi-ITN FP-7 Marie Curie project that focuses on developing and testing a methodological framework on which art and design researchers can rely when working on public space projects in participatory ways ( As one of six early career researchers collaborating in this project, I explore how designers can find new agency within the 'smart city' discourse by critically adopting data-driven approaches aimed at citizen empowerment in the design and development of the built environment.

Junior Researcher Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Real Estate & Housing. 2013 - 2014
Archival, literature and case study research on urban planning and corporate real estate in the Netherlands -

Research and Design Assistant Max van Aerschot Architect, Haarlem. 2012 - 2013
Assist in research on urban planning for the city of Haarlem, The Netherlands

Researcher Van Driesten Bouw, Ede. 2013
Research and data analysis on efficiency in building processes and BIM methods for housing development projects

Internship Doffice Shenzhen, China. 2010 - 2011
Design and research of architectural and urban planning projects in Shenzhen, China and Hong Kong

Internship De Nijl architects Rotterdam, The Netherlands. 2010
Research and design of neighbourhood renewal projects, social housing projects and urban and regional planning. Contribution to research for the renewal project in Vreewijk (Rotterdam-South) under architect Endy van Velzen

Research assistant Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Urbanism. 2010
Commissioned research on the connectivity of street networks and its influence on the social and urban fabric of the city of Haarlem, The Netherlands under PI Peter de Bois

Student assistant Media Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture. 2008
Supervising students on Media skills such as hand drawing trainings and presentation trainings

Student mentor Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture. 2008
Supervising firtsyear students on their first design projects