About

I am a PhD candidate in sociology at Brown University and a Visiting Democracy Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance & Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School. Beginning in August 2020, I will be a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Weatherhead Scholars Program at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

In academic and public-facing writing, I make connections between urban inequalities and the political challenges for democracy that confront societies across the globe. Peer-reviewed work has been published in Social Forces, International Development Planning Review, and Environment & Urbanization. My research asks: Why are some cities more unequal than others? Why do government institutions reproduce or reduce urban inequalities? When and how does democracy transform the organizational resources available to people who aim to exploit or overcome urban inequalities? I have primarily worked on public goods like housing, sanitation, and transportation, and am more generally interested in the determinants and effects of urban — and geographic — inequalities.

My dissertation research compares the trajectory of urban public goods distribution in two mega-cities after transitions to democracy: Johannesburg, South Africa, and São Paulo, Brazil. I rely on interview-based and archival research, conducted over 16 months in both cities, as well as spatial data analysis. This work has been supported by peer-reviewed grants and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, National Science Foundation, Fulbright Program, and the Brazilian Studies Association.

I have previously worked as a researcher and organizer for the transnational network of housing movements, Slum/Shack Dwellers International, as well as a journalist for outlets in South Africa and the United States. I received a Masters in City Planning from MIT and a BA in history from Swarthmore College.