Mara is an urban geographer whose research focuses on socio-spatial inequality and the urban politics of urban space production in Brazil. She completed a PhD in Human Geography and Urban Studies at LSE. Further, she holds a BSc and a MSc in Economics from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. She has experience in teaching and lecturing, while also having a number of papers published in Urban Geography and Regional Economics.
LACC has been awarded a grant from The British Academy under the 'Urban Infrastructures of Well-Being' programme, in collaboration with researchers from the Brazilian research institution, Insper. Mara will contribute to the 24-month research project titled, ‘Engineering food: infrastructure exclusion and ‘last mile’ delivery in Brazilian favelas’.
Her PhD research has looked at three conflicts taking place in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, during the years leading up to the 2014 World Cup. In each of the cases, affected citizens – informal workers, informal residents and middle-class dwellers – have engaged with the state to claim rights over space. The thesis examined how the entanglements between social class and legal/institutional developments engendered through “peripheral urbanisation” has shaped the capacities of those groups to have their demands over space legitimated.
The research contributed to recent postcolonial debates, arguing for a relational approach that considers urban space, the state and citizenship as mutually constituted processes. Moreover, it showed that, while debates on urban space production have focused on housing, informal working and housing practices are connected through the place-making strategies of the urban poor as well as of the urban middle-class, all of which produce important implications for the reproduction of socio-spatial segregation.
Mara’s current research looks at the relationships between the informal sector and urban space. She is interested in how street vendors negotiate access to urban space in order to make a living, looking at the intersections between work and housing informality. She is also interested in the encounters between different social movements, the state and the middle-classes, focusing on how those encounters shape urban space, policy making and social class.
View Mara's CV.