Urban Empact investigates how people navigate and interact with their city. It seeks to help identify values that motivate people's behaviour to help designers, engineers and developers can create better and more inclusive cities.


Selina Abraham
Urbanist and Founder

Selina Abraham founded Urban Empact in 2018 after graduating with Masters in Urbanism under the Faculty of the Built Environment at TU Delft. Her goal is identify values that motivate people's behaviour to help designers, engineers and developers can create better and more inclusive cities. Through Urban Empact, she is passionate about designing negotiation and participatory toolkits to help urbanists design more inclusive cities.

Selina started her career as an architect in India. She has since been working as an independent researcher in collaboration with the Veldacademie, the Architecture Institute Rotterdam (AIR) and the Deltametropool Association on inclusive design. In this process, she has worked in various ventures, like an urban experiment in the city of Rotterdam, called the Mobility Challenge Hoogkwartier. She relies on her design background as architect to develop creative solutions to more design more effective means of collaboration and communication. Selina also extends her support to Emergi, a social enterprise, where she collaborates as a graphic designer.

After graduating from New Delhi with a Bachelor's in Architecture, she worked in Bangalore as an architect for two years. Later, she moved to the Netherlands to become an urbanist and in 2018, graduated with a Masters degree from TU Delft. Since 2020, she is a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam. At the UvA she is conducting research on the Transitions and Behaviour (TransB) project, studying sustainable transition in urban development within the Transnational Configurations, Conflict and Governance programme group. The aim of TransB is to strengthen co-creation processes and come up with recommendations for governance, co-creation guidelines for multiple value creation projects.

Cristina Catoiu
Urban Designer

Cristina is an urbanist currently based in Bucharest. She studied architecture and urban planning in Munich and Montreal and graduated from the Technical University of Munich in 2014.

For over 5 years she worked as an urban planner and designer in Munich. Her expertise ranges from integrated regional planning to integrated neighborhood development planning, involving multiple stakeholders, interdisciplinary teams and citizen participation workshops.

Her experience with participatory, cross-disciplinary and integrated planning in Germany and her drive to create healthier, just and resilient cities led her to seek a fresh approach to participatory planning. This is how she met Selina, during her journey through the Netherlands, looking for an experimental and unconventional spirit to tackle inclusive urban design through innovation.

As both anarchitect and urban designer, she can easily move through various planning scales. She likes to keep an eye on the big picture, and has an incipient desire to learn how to link data to urban planning in order to help municipalities take better evidence based decisions to improve their cities.

A meliorist, she  likes to think in solutions and believes that empathetic cooperation between people and across cultures and various disciplines based on curiosity and a will for mutual understanding, finding creative ways to bridge differences and build trust is the way forward.

At Urban Empact she is contributing to develop the Empact Game, as part of the MIT Feasibility grant from the RvO.