I am a Visiting Scholar at the College of Environment and Design at the University of Georgia. As a a critical planning and international development scholar my research examines the politics of urban and regional governance and asks how innovation can produce more sustainable and democratic cities and regions. I have pursued this question through three complementary lines of inquiry that examine 1) the intersection of international development, climate change governance and democracy in Mexico City; 2) social movements and immigrant spaces in California suburbs; and 3) regional governance, green innovation and economic development in Latin America and the San Diego-Tijuana region. I have published my work in The Journal of Transport Geography, Latin American Perspectives, Environment and Planning A, the Berkeley Planning Journal and Regional Development Dialogue.
My dissertation, “The Politics of Immediacy: Citizenship, Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility in Mexico City”, examined how the politics of climate change, international development and urban democracy intersect in the transformation of Mexico City’s planning and transportation governance structures. Using a qualitative and ethnographic approach, this work sheds light into the practices that make possible greening reforms and governance innovation in a context shaped by the privatization of urban space and service provision and ongoing efforts on the part of civil society groups to increase their political influence. This research shows how city officials, NGOs and experts mobilize discourses of urgency to legitimize controversial ad-hoc interventions in which short-term success and high visibility take precedence over substantive institutional and legal transformations. This dissertation shows how these practices are reinforcing and generating patterns of spatial inequality but also how conflict around these projects produces critical know-how for both managing and engaging in novel forms of urban contestation against spatial and political displacement.
I have also conducted research on social movements and immigrant spaces in US suburbs and on innovation and regional development in Latin America and the US-Mexico border. My work has been published in Latin American Perspectives, Environment and Planning A, the Berkeley Planning Journal and Regional Development Dialogue. My teaching interests include urban and planning theory, critical infrastructure studies, qualitative methods for urban planning, globalization and the city, the politics of sustainable development and urbanization in the Global South.