BiographyI have a BA in Politics and Economics from the University of Mannheim and an MA in Development Studies from the University of Manchester. My PhD focused on the role of indigenous rights in urban policies and planning in a context of constitutional changes that have taken place in Bolivia and Ecuador. I completed my PhD in Planning at the University of Manchester in 2015.
I joined the Department of Urban Studies and Planning in February 2018 having previously worked as postdoctoral research associate at the Open University.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
My research focuses on two interrelated areas: (1) urban indigeneity and (2) citizen-led and participatory planning.
In post-colonial societies indigenous peoples have been historically constructed as inferiors, often excluded from urban life and citizenship rights. Rapid urbanisation in the 20th and 21st century has not led to significant changes in such trends. Focusing particularly on the Latin American region, and especially on Bolivia and Ecuador, my research documents emerging patterns of indigenous urbanisation and looks at the everyday lived experience of urban indigenous peoples. Through direct engagement with indigenous activists and local authorities, my research examines opportunities and
challenges around integrating specific interests, demands and rights-based claims of indigenous peoples into urban policies and planning interventions.
Citizen-led and participatory planning:
While current city-wide spatial planning approaches might be useful in designing urban development plans and visions, they often do not sufficiently consider the resources, investments, and specific interests of low-income groups and other marginalised communities. My research examines to what extent and how participatory and citizen-led approaches to planning might provide solutions to this problem. As part of this work, I have conducted research with indigenous communities in Latin America and, more recently, organised slum dweller groups in Africa and Asia.