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Farhana Ferdous, Ph.D. (She/Her)

Associate Professor

  • Department of Architecture, CEA
  • College of Engineering and Architecture (CEA)


Dr. Farhana Ferdous is an associate professor in the Department of Architecture at Howard University. After receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Sydney, Australia in 2012, she served as a post-doctoral fellow in healthcare architecture, lecturer, and global Urbanism Faculty Fellow in the School of Architecture & Design at the University of Kansas from 2012 to 2017. She is an educator, designer, and scholar whose teaching and research career spans the continents of Asia, Australia, and North America. She continues to make symbiotic interconnections between design, practice, and research, especially one focused on health, design, and marginalized or aging populations. Dr. Ferdous is the recipient of the prestigious ARCC New Research Award in 2022.

She has published widely on urban and environmental design and environmental psychology for the elderly. Her co-edited volumes ‘All In: All-Inclusive Engagement in Architecture’; from Routledge Publication (2021) and ‘(Re)designing the Continuum of Care for Older Adults: The Future of Long-Term Care Settings’ from Springer publications (2023) are groundbreaking critical discourse focusing on the impact of social engagement in architecture and design of care facilities on older adults respectively. Her scholarship has been supported by a number of research grants including from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Fellowship (2013), Grantmakers in Aging (GIA) Fellowship (2013), Academy of Architecture for Health Foundation (2017), Toyota Individual Research Grant (2018), Graham Foundation Grant (2021); Alzheimer’s Association Research Grant (2021), Innovations in Pedagogy/Teaching Fellowship (2021) and National Endowment for Humanities Fellowship (2022).

Education & Expertise


Architecture and Environmental Design

University of Sydney, Australia

Architecture and Urbanism

Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology


Healthcare Architecture, Memory Care and Assisted Living Facilities 

Environment Behavior and Evidence-based Design

Behavior and Psychology in Built Environments with a Focus on Elderly Care

Healthy Communities and Healthy Urbanism 




Healthcare Architecture and Healthy Urbanism




2022-24    National Endowment for the Humanities (Diversity Grant) ($60,000)

    Title: Urbanization, Urbanicity, and Wellbeing in the City of Baltimore 


2022-23    Graham Foundation Grant (PI, Research Grant) ($9,000)

                  Title: The (pathogenic)-CITY: A History of Urbanization, Minority Health and Racial  

                  Disparities in American Landscape (1900s to present)      


2022-24     Alzheimer’s Association Research Grant for Diversity (PI, Research Grant)


                  Title: Development of a Valid Spatial Environment Assessment tooL

                  (SEAL) for LTCFs


2017-18     Academy of Architecture for Health Foundation (AAHF) (PI, Research Grant)


                  Title: Positive Health Outcomes by Environmental Design: The role of spatial

                  configuration in designing physical environment for people experiencing dementia


2017-19    Toyota Individual Research Grant (PI, Research Grant) ($10,000)                                                               

                 Title: Positive Health Outcomes by Environmental Design: The role of spatial

                  configuration in designing physical environment for people experiencing dementia


2016         Service Learning Grant by Center for Civic and Social Responsibility                        

                  In support of teaching a course (Designing Sustainable Future) focusing on

                  service learning aspect at the University of Kansas


2013-14     Alzheimer's Disease Center (University of Kansas as Postdoc Fellow)

                  Title: Neighborhood Walkability and Sedentary Behavior in Alzheimer’s Disease


2012-13     Office of Research and Graduate Studies: Strategic Initiatives Grant

                  (University of Kansas as Postdoc Fellow)

                  Title: Resilient Lifestyles for Older Adults


2009-11      Post Graduate Research Support Scheme

                   The University of Sydney (Principal Investigator)                                                                                        

                  Title: Evaluative Image of Urban Plazas: Urban Morphology, Aesthetic Response

                   and Social Use.



2022: ARCC New Researcher Award

2021: Innovations in Pedagogy/ Teaching Fellowship, History Maker Digital Archive

2021: Summer Academy Junior Faculty Writing Workshop, Howard University

2016: Global Urbanism Faculty Fellow, The University of Kansas

2013: GIA (Grant makers in Aging) Fellowship

2013: The American Association of University Women (AAUW) International Fellowship

Related Articles

Book Chapters



  • Ferdous, F. & Rahman. M. (2015) Chawk Bazaar and Shankhari Bazaar: Morphology of two organically developed cultural spaces of Old Dhaka. In M. Rahman (ed.) Dhaka: An Urban Reader, The University Press Limited (UPL) Dhaka, page 29-50.

Peer Reviewed Journal


  • Ferdous F. (2021) Redesigning Memory Care in the COVID-19 Era: Interdisciplinary Spatial Design Interventions to Minimize Social Isolation in Older Adults. J Aging Soc Policy. 2021 May 7:1-15. doi: 10.1080/08959420.2021.1924345. PMID: 33957853.


  • Ferdous, F. (2021). Social Distancing vs Social Interactions for Long Term Care Facilities in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Rapid Review and Synthesis of Action Plans. INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing, Volume 58, September 2021.


  • Ferdous, F. (2019). Positive Social Interactions by Spatial Design: A Systematic Review of Empirical Literature in Memory Care Facilities for People Experiencing Dementia. Journal of Aging and Health


  • Watts, A., Ferdous, F., Moore, K. D., Burns, J. (2015) Neighborhood Integration and Connectivity Predict Cognitive Performance and Decline, Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, January-December 2015 vol. 1, page 1-9, doi: 10.1177/2333721415599141


  • Ferdous, F. & Moore, K. D. (2015) Field observations into the environmental soul: Spatial configuration and social life for people experiencing dementia, American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias, March 2015 vol. 30 no. 2, page 209-218. doi: 10.1177/1533317514545378


  • Ferdous, F. (2014). If You Could Know, What Users Think: Urban Design and the Preference of the Physical Attributes of Urban Open Space, Journal of Advances in Humanities, (JAH), ISSN 2349-4379 Vol. 3 (1), page 143-151. DOI:10.24297/jah.v3i1.5116. Corpus ID: 54509467


  • Ferdous, F. (2013) Examining the Relationship Between Key Visual Characteristics of Urban Plazas and Aesthetic Response SAGE Open April-June 2013 Vol. 3 (2), doi: 10.1177/2158244013485581, page 1-10


  • Ferdous, F. (2012) The spatial analysis and morphological evolution of the ‘Bazaar Streets’ and urban structure of Dhaka city, URBAN DESIGN International (UDI), Vol. 17 (3), pp. 206-220.


  • Ferdous, F., & Nilufar, F. (2008).  Cultural Space - A Conceptual Deliberation and Characterization as Urban Space. Protibesh, Journal of the Department of Architecture, BUET, ISSN: 1812-8068, January 2008, Volume 12, No. 1. (29-36).


  •  Ferdous, F. (2008). Organic Morphology and Cultural Spaces: The Case of Old Dhaka. Journal of the Asiatic Society (Humanities), Harun-or-Rashid (ed) Volume 53, No. 1, June 2008, (27-50).


  • Ferdous, F., & Nilufar, F. (2007).  Morphological Transformation and Evolution of Panthapath as a Commercial Belt of Dhaka City.  Protibesh, Journal of the Department of Architecture, BUET, ISSN: 1812-8068, July 2007, Volume 11, No. 2. (55-66).


Peer Reviewed Conference Publications and Presentations

  • Ferdous, F. (2023): The Risk of Social Isolation in Older Adults: Evidence-Based Action Plans in Redesigning Memory Care Facilities Beyond COVID-19 Pandemic. Paper presented at EDRA54 ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH: Global / Local Challenges and Actions. Mexico, June, 2023


  • Nduom, D. & Ferdous, F. (2021): Challenges and Opportunities in Teaching Architecture Design Studio during the COVID-19 era: an HBCU Perspective. 109th ACSA Annual Meeting: Expanding the View.


  • Bell, B., Ferdous, F. (2020) All-Inclusive Engagement in Architecture. Paper presented (virtually) at the EDRA 51 Annual Meeting, Tempe, April, 2020.



  • Ferdous, F. (2019). Well-being in Memory Care Facilities: Identifying the Role of Spatial Design for Social Interaction in Empirical Literature. Paper presented at ARCC Annual Meeting, Toronto, Ontario, May 2019. ARCC Conference Repository, 1(1). Retrieved from


  • Ferdous, F. (2018) [Re] connecting the creative community corridor: A community design intervention to foster diversity along Georgia Avenue, Washington D.C. Paper presented at the EDRA 49 Annual Meeting, Oklahoma, June, 2018.


  • Ferdous, F. (2018) Positive Health Outcomes by Environmental Design: The role of spatial configuration in designing physical environment for people experiencing dementia. Paper presented at the EDRA 49 Annual Meeting, Oklahoma, June, 2018.


  • Watts, A., Ferdous, F., E. Grandfield, & Diaz-Moore, K. (2016). Perceived neighborhood characteristics differentially impact sedentary behavior in older adults with and without Alzheimer’s disease. Paper presented at the 68th Annual Meeting for the Gerontological Society of America, New Orleans, LA, Nov, 2016.


  • Sanguinetti, P., Cai, H., Colistra, J., Sheward, H., Ferdous, F. (2016). Connected healthy living for smart cities. Paper presented at Building for Health and Well-Being: Structures. Cities. Systems 2016 ACSA-ASPPH Fall Conference, Honolulu, HI, September 2016.


  • Watts, A., Ferdous, F., & Diaz-Moore, K. (2016). Effect of Neighborhood Characteristics on Sedentary Behavior in Alzheimer’s Disease. Paper presented at the 24th Meeting for the International Association of People-Environment Studies, Lund, Sweden, June, 2016.


  • Ferdous, F., Watts, A., Diaz-Moore, K. (2016). Neighborhood Characteristics Influence Active Living and Cognitive Performance among Older Adults. In Global Impact through Design Research Symposium, the University of Kansas, USA, April 2016.


  • Liebmann, E., Breda, A., Watts, A., Ferdous, F., Diaz-Moore, K., & Burns, J. (2015). Neighborhood Characteristics and Dementia Status Predict Physical Functioning in Older Adults. Paper presented at the 67th Annual Meeting for the Gerontological Society of America, Orlando, FL. Nov, 2015.


  • Watts, A., Ferdous, F., Diaz-Moore, K., & Burns, J. (2014). Neighborhood characteristics predict health and cognitive function in older adults with and without Alzheimer’s disease. Paper presented at the 66th Annual Meeting for the Gerontological Society of America, Washington, DC. Nov, 2014.


  • Ferdous, F. (2013). Sedentary behavior and older adults: The role of neighborhood walkability Oral presentation, Grantmaking in Aging (GIA) Annual Conference. Kansas City, USA, October 16-18, 2013.


  • Moore, K. D. & Ferdous, F. (2013). The Impact of Spatial Configuration on Social Interaction in Long-Term Care Facilities: A Brief Overview of Pilot Studies symposium presentation in Place making in the Third and Fourth Ages. In Jeremy Wells and Elefterios Pavlides (eds.) EDRA 44 Proceedings: Healthy + Healing Places (pp. 251-252), Providence, May 2013.


  • Moore, K. D. & Ferdous, F. (2013). Spatial Configuration and Social Life for People Experiencing Dementia (Referred Full Paper). In Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC) Spring Proceedings: The Visibility of Research (pp. 685-691), University of North Carolina, Charlotte, March 2013.


  • Ferdous, F. (2012). Aesthetic Response and Urban Plazas: The appreciation of physical characteristics for designed urban open spaces  In Rula Awwad-Rafferty and Lynne C. Manzo (eds.) EDRA 43 Proceedings: Emergent Placemaking (pp. 234), Seattle, June 2012.


  • Ferdous, F. (2011). The Morphological Evolution of the ‘Bazaar Streets’: A Configurational Analysis of the Urban Layout of Dhaka City (Refereed Full-Paper). In Mittleman D. and Middleton D. A.  (eds.) EDRA 42 Proceedings: Make no little plans (pp. 50-61), Chicago, May 2011.


  • Ferdous, F. (2010). Developing an Empirical Research Model to Evaluate the Aesthetic Image and Social Use of Urban Plazas from Photo Simulation Techniques (Abstract). In Bissell J. and Meldrena C.  (eds.) EDRA 41 Proceedings: Policy and the environment (pp.251), Washington DC, June 2010.


  • Ferdous, F. (2009). The Aesthetic Image of Urban Plazas: An Empirical Approach toward the Evaluating of Built Environment. In Meldrena C., Bissell J., Alice M., Moore K., Rashid M. and Spreckelmeyer K. (eds.) EDRA 40 Proceedings: Re: The Ethical Design of Place (pp. 395), Kansas, City, MO, USA, May 2009.


  • Ferdous, F. (2007). Morphological Identity of Old Dhaka: The Notion of an Indigenous Settlement, (Full paper) paper delivered at CSAAR 2007 Conference Proceedings, Regional Architecture and Identity in the Age of Globalization, Tunis, Tunisia, 13-15 November 2007. (pp. 301-318). Publisher: CSAAR.


  • Ferdous, F. (2006).  Extermination of Zinjira Canal: The Southern Fringe of Buriganga.  In M. Rahman (ed.), (Full paper) Society, Architects and Emerging Issues: Proceedings of 18th Commonwealth Association of Architects International Conference.  London: Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA), and Dhaka: Institute of Architects of Bangladesh (IAB), (pp. 35-42).


  • Ferdous, F. (2006).  Morphological Transformation and Evolution of a Commercial SpineIn S.R. Eghbali (ed), Urban Design from Theory to Implementation: Oral presentation, 1st Urban Design International Congress (UDIC1), September 4-7, 2006, Isfahan, Iran.


  • Ferdous, F. (2005).  Beyond Buriganga: Under Threat of Extinction.  In N.A. Huq (ed), oral presentation, International Conference on Geography and Environment Issues and Challenges; Golden Jubilee.  Dhaka: Bangladesh Geographical Society (BGS), December 11-13, 2005, Dhaka, Bangladesh.