As a multi-disciplinary scholar and design practitioner, I bring a critical global metropolitan studies perspective to understand how forms of oppression and resistance are contested in space. My concern with spatial justice stems from working with historically underrepresented communities in São Paulo, Ouagadougou, Paris, San Francisco, and Mexico City. I sit on the executive board of the Italian Association for Women in Development (AIDOS), an NGO supporting gender’s rights worldwide. I also sat in participatory planning sessions involving Brazilian favelas and inferred how environmental design projects might reproduce the inequality they aim to overcome.
My research and teaching build on years of international experience. As a certified architect in Italy and the U.S., I understand the production of difference (race, gender, bodily, age, and colonial status) as spatially contingent. In Burkina Faso, my former architecture firm designed and built the Women’s Health Center under a European Community program to eliminate Black women’s genital mutilation. Shortlisted for the Aga Khan Award and exhibited at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, the project triggered questions about social justice and intersectional inequality. After witnessing extreme labor injustice in Dubai’s construction sites, I supported the rights of Romanian immigrants working in the fashion retail construction industry in Paris.
In my book project, The Peripheral Frontier: Ecologies of Difference in São Paulo (1947-present), I chart the material and socio-environmental history of the self-built city at the feet of the Serra da Cantareira forest that marks the end of the city of São Paulo to the north. This humanized landscape, developed on hillslopes and along riverbanks, speaks to broader histories of topographic segregation in Southern cities under structures of coloniality—including racism, classism, and heteropatriarchy. During my fieldwork, I was a Fulbright-Hays fellow and visiting researcher at the University of São Paulo (FAU-USP), in the Department of History of Architecture and Urbanism, affiliated with the Laboratory of Other Urbanisms.
I envision teaching the spatial aspects of social justice to foster design as a collective practice of designer-citizens committed to improving the human condition. Design for me is to re-imagine a liberatory space where diverse communities can thrive and coexist. On the one hand, I lead students to connect overarching patterns of inequality to situated practices that sustain them. On the other hand, I leverage my position inside and outside academia to encourage them to turn problems into opportunities for social change by collectively re-imagining them as more sustainable and just.
GRANTS & FELLOWSHIP
2021 Center for Race and Gender, “Intersectional Ecologies”
2021 Townsend Center for Humanities, “Decolonizing Ecological Imagination”
2020 Graduate Remote Instruction Innovation Fellow, Graduate Division’s GSI Center
2020 Global Urban Humanities Fellowship, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
2020 Conference & Lecture Grant, Doreen B. Townsend Center for Humanities
2019 Global Urban Humanities Publication Grant
2018-19 Fulbright-Hays DDRA, Doctoral Dissertation Research Award
2018 John L. Simpson Memorial Research Fellowship, Institute of International Studies
2017 Global Metropolitan Studies, Fieldwork Research Grant
2017 Foreign Language and Area Studies Summer Grant, U.S. Department of Education
2016-2017 Joan E. Draper Research Fellowship, Architectural History Research
2016 (re)thinking South Research Collective Award, Global Metropolitan Studies
2016 Foreign Language and Area Studies Summer Grant, U.S. Department of Education
2015 Instructional Teaching Improvement Grant, GSR
2013-2014 Block Grant Fellowship, UC Berkeley Department of Architecture
AWARDS & HONORS
2016 Diversity Platforms Award, Arcus Endowment
2014-2015 Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award
As part of the design team of the Centre for Women’s Health, Ouagadougou, As a co-founder and Project Architect at FAREstudio, Awards for the Center for Women’s Health, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso:
2010 Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Finalist project
2010 XXII Architecture International Biennale of Venice, Exhibited project
2010 Zumtobel Award for Humanity in the Built Environment, Special mention
2009 Barbara Cappochin International Biennale Architecture Prize, Honorable Mention
2009 International Architecture Awards The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Center for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies, Winner
2008 World Architecture Festival, Health Category, Winner