Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, History, State University of New York (SUNY) / Purchase College

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2008
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, University of Maryland
Housing Development: Housing Policy, Slums, and Squatter Settlements in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, 1948-1973

This research project explores the contested experiences of housing policy and development in Latin America in the era of modernization. During those years, a new transnational sociological and urbanist understanding of the urban home appeared as an organizer of urban space and as an instrument of political and social intervention to a number of different actors across national and international borders. Over the chronological course of this study, I will explore how the modern Latin American city--particularly Buenos Aires, Argentina and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil-came to be marked by extreme income disparities because of, rather than in spite of, public housing initiatives. This dissertation seeks to show that, ultimately, the planning and building of the modern residence did not solve the problem of underdevelopment. Rather, I argue, housing itself built poverty. In other words, at the historical juncture of populism, interamerican development aid, and the Cold War in the Americas, the urbanists' plans and hopes for modernity through housing may have been partially fulfilled, but a poverty of housing became a thoroughly modern part of the Latin American urban landscape. In light of this, I hypothesize that the history of housing was one of the constitutive elements in the history of (under)development and modernization of the Third World city.