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Dorsa Jalalian

Senior Urban Designer, DIALOG

Sector: Private Sector
Discipline: Planning/Urban Design
Year: 2023

Dorsa Jalalian

Senior Urban Designer, DIALOG

Magic Moment: One of the most pivotal moments in my journey took place back in architecture school when I decided to take an urban design course. It was like a lightbulb moment when I realized the incredible potential of working on projects at the urban scale and how it could profoundly impact communities. What truly captivated me was the course’s emphasis on putting people at the heart of design. It sparked a fire within me, pushing me to pursue a master’s degree in urban design. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of working on a wide range of projects, all at that urban scale that I fell in love with, continuously inspired by the opportunity to create thriving communities.

Key Influence:
Influencer – David Harvey: Harvey’s ‘right to the city’ concept seeks to promote social justice, spatial equality, and the empowerment of individuals and communities to actively shape the urban environment they inhabit. I fully embrace this idea in my work, making sure that every project I undertake incorporates an inclusive and equitable community engagement process. It’s important to me that the voices and opinions of community members are valued and integrated into my designs at every stage.

Mentor: Antonio Gómez-Palacio: Antonio’s commitment to creating vibrant, sustainable, and inclusive communities is truly inspiring. You can see his unwavering dedication in how he carefully chooses the projects that DIALOG takes on, making sure they truly reflect these core values. But what’s even more amazing is that I learn so much from Antonio beyond our regular 1:1 sessions. Just by being around him and watching him in action on various projects, I gain a wealth of knowledge and insights that continue to shape my own approach to urban design.

Next Big Challenge As An Industry: As we address housing affordability, mobility, and climate change as an industry, let’s remember the significance of the public realm. Investing in public open spaces is vital for fostering community connection and enriching our city-region. By prioritizing the public realm, we cultivate inclusive environments where communities can come together, socialize, and share experiences. These spaces not only nurture a sense of belonging but also contribute to public health, environmental sustainability, and economic vitality. Let’s prioritize the public realm, creating welcoming spaces that people would want to spend just a little bit more time in.

On Championing Others…: I’m dedicated to mentoring and guiding emerging talents, especially BIPOC and immigrant designers and planners, sharing my experience to support their growth and success. I actively engage with peers to exchange ideas and insights
at conferences and symposia. One initiative close to my heart is co-chairing IAP2’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion community of practice, where we work towards creating more inclusive public consultations.

Secret Talent: Mixology! I shake good cocktails.

One word that captures you: Passionate – I deeply love and care about the work I do.