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Supervisor: Dr Felipe Hernández



Research overview:

Mariana’s research explores the legacy and impact of coloniality, race and gender in modern urban planning and interventions in Latin America. In many Latin American countries, the suggestion that communities are segregated by race is considered antipatriotic and as such is not addressed in urban planning. This is particularly the case in Colombia, where the myth of racial harmony through “mestizaje” (racial mixture) is well ingrained within society and has contributed to repetitive cycles of segregation and ignorance about whiteness as the aim of that racial mixing. Her case study is Cartagena, a colonial touristic city in the Caribbean coast of Colombia, where there has been a rapid construction of second homes for wealthy visitors at the expense of affordable housing for locals. This has resulted in the displacement and marginalization of predominantly afro-Colombian urban poor and is seen as a class not a race issue. By researching the influence of colonial ideologies on urban plans, she seeks to highlight how the power imbalances and moral and philosophical ideologies born in colonial times are perpetuated today and the impact these have upon marginalized urban subjects. Mariana’s PhD studies are being funded by a Cambridge Trust & King's College Scholarship.




Mariana graduated as an architect from Los Andes University in Bogotá, Colombia (2012), and holds a Master’s in Design Studies from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in the Urbanism, Landscape, Ecology concentration (2016). Before coming to Cambridge, Mariana lived in Colombia where she worked in urban planning and the improvement of public spaces in informal settlements in Cartagena, Colombia.