I am an assistant professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning. My research and teaching are shaped by my journey across design, planning, and social policy over the past fifteen years, both as a scholar and as a practitioner. In my scholarship I examine the role of planning, policy, and law in the marginalization of some communities, especially Indigenous peoples and immigrants. I also explore possibilities for intercultural collaboration and solidarity work in contexts where structural power imbalances – such as settler colonial dispossession and forced migration – are at play.
I was trained as a professional designer in Chile, received a master of arts in Political Science from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and hold a PhD in Community and Regional Planning from the University of British Columbia. Before joining Ryerson, I worked with governments in Chile and Canada conducting public consultations and social policy evaluation. I have also been involved in community-engaged research with immigrants and municipalities in Metro Vancouver, as well as supporting the struggles of the Mapuche nation for self-determination.
My work is grounded in the acknowledgement that academic and government practices have often harmed and exploited some groups in society. In my teaching I strive to create spaces for students to reflect critically on these complicit relations as they prepare for professional practice. My current work is guided by a joint research agenda with Mapuche partners in Chile, which follows the priorities identified locally in an attempt to put academic work at the service of Indigenous ways of planning. I publish and present my work both in English and Spanish as a way to open up spaces for dialogue regarding planning experiences in South and North America.
My scholarship is guided by a key concern: to make visible the role of planning in the dispossession and marginalization of certain communities – particularly Indigenous peoples – while exploring ways to change such trajectory in increasingly diverse contexts. Previous research projects have examined policies related to Indigenous consultation, social planning as a catalyst for dialogue between Indigenous peoples and immigrants in cities, and making municipal planning more responsive to immigrant and refugee needs. My current research with Mapuche partners in Chile engages with questions of Indigenous land use planning and intercultural governance.