Publications

2017
Resource Led New Towns and the Challenges to Sovereignty
Diane E. Davis and Mariana Barrera. 2017. “Resource Led New Towns and the Challenges to Sovereignty.” In The City and the Camp: Territories of Extraction, edited by Luis Valuenzuela. Santiago, Chile: Universidad Adolfo Ibanez.
Rethinking the Role of Social, Spatial and Political Conditions in the Study of Informality
Diane E. Davis. 2017. “Rethinking the Role of Social, Spatial and Political Conditions in the Study of Informality.” In Marginal Urbanisms: Informal and Formal Development in Cities of Latin America, edited by Felipe Hernandez and Axel Becerra. Cambridge, UK: Scholars Publishing.
Unequal Mobility
Diane E. Davis and Lily Song. 2017. “Unequal Mobility.” Politico Magazine July-August. Publisher's VersionAbstract
A growing number of U.S. cities are joining the ranks of their European counterparts by promoting walking, cycling, public transit and public spaces. These new urban transport investments largely depart from the expansive, public-subsidy intensive, auto-centric and environmentally destructive patterns of urban development that prevailed during the past century. Yet they also risk compounding, if not intensifying, existing socio-spatial inequalities in cities.
2016
Can Mayors Actually Rule the World?”
Diane E. Davis. 12/5/2016. “Can Mayors Actually Rule the World?”” Citiscope. Publisher's Version
The Urban and The Territorial: Housing in Mérida, Yucatán
Diane E. Davis, Jose Castillo, and Ruben Segovia. 2016. The Urban and The Territorial: Housing in Mérida, Yucatán. Cambridge: Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This is the third studio sponsored by INFONAVIT, the National Workers Housing Institute of Mexico. As in previous years, this studio seeks to generate new ideas for fostering sustainable urbanism through housing, and to address the spatial and social concerns related to sprawl through the lens of a comprehensive and critical planning and urban design studio.
Building Better Cities with Strategic Investments in Social Housing
Diane E. Davis. 2016. Building Better Cities with Strategic Investments in Social Housing. ReSHIM. Cambridge: Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Building on fieldwork in seven Mexican cities, this report: 1) outlines the major barriers and enablers to densification, 2) identifies a series of challenges that must be overcome if mortgage credits for social housing are to be used to build more sustainable cities, 3) suggests a recalibration of policy goals to emphasize urban value creation and better urbanism rather than densification per se, and 4) proposes a new institutional platform that will help INFONAVIT achieve these goals.
The Difficulties of Employing Utopian Thinking in Planning Practice: Lessons from the Just Jerusalem Project
Diane E. Davis. 2016. “The Difficulties of Employing Utopian Thinking in Planning Practice: Lessons from the Just Jerusalem Project.” In Insurgencies and Revolutions: Reflections on John Friedmann’s Contributions to Planning Theory and Practice, edited by Haripraya Rangan. New York: Routledge.
The Flexible Leviathan: Reconsidering Scale and Fixity in Itzapalapa, Mexico City
Diane E. Davis and Jose Castillo. 2016. The Flexible Leviathan: Reconsidering Scale and Fixity in Itzapalapa, Mexico City. Cambridge: Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Mexico City is one of the most dynamic and complex metropolitan areas in the world today. Iztapalapa, located in the southeastern part of the city, is the most populous delegación (borough) with over 1.8 million inhabitants. The Flexible Leviathan studio took place in the spring sumester of 2013 at the Harvard University Gradutae School of Design. Twelve students from the departments of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design, and Urban Planning worked to produce a vision for Iztapalapa’s Centro Oriente (East Center district), both in the local context of Iztapalapa and in metropolitan terms, thus theorizing the meaning of sustainable urbanism in large cities while also engaging the real world, local context of urban policy-making through urban planning and design intervention.
Housing and Habitus: Craft, Politics, and the Production of Housing in Oaxaca, Mexico
Diane E. Davis, Jose Castillo, and Yuxiang Luo. 2016. Housing and Habitus: Craft, Politics, and the Production of Housing in Oaxaca, Mexico. Cambridge: Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This is the second studio sponsored by INFONAVIT, the federal agency responsible for the origination of home mortgages for workers across Mexico. Inherent to this work is the imperative to address the challenges of producing sustainable urban housing nationwide, particularly as the country faces grave challenges of urban sprawl. Much of the new housing has been built in the urban periphery where land costs are low, contributing to significant and extensive urban sprawl.

Latin American Cities
Diane E. Davis and Nora Libertun de Duren. 2016. “Latin American Cities.” Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Sciences.
The Production of Space and Violence in Cities of the Global South: Evidence from Latin America
Diane E. Davis. 2016. “The Production of Space and Violence in Cities of the Global South: Evidence from Latin America.” Nóesis: Revista de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades, 25, 49-1, Pp. 1-15. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Drawing on primary and secondary research, this article assesses the spatial dynamics that underpin high rates of urban violence in Latin America. It argues that both the origins and responses to urban violence in Latin America have involved some sort of state ordering of territory, ranging from modernist urban planning practices on the one hand to police control over urban spaces on the other. To the extent that efforts to impose social and spatial order in Latin American cities have both derived from and reinforced a history of squatter occupation, ambiguous property rights, and uneven distribution of services, thus producing a stark distinction between the so-called formal and the informal city, they have laid the foundations for urban violence. In what follows, we see how and why government efforts to create spatial and social order have produced this unfortunate state of affairs. The claim is that the assumptions and ideas underlying the imposition of modernist planning priorities and spatial practices in urban Latin America have inadvertently contributed to a set of inter-related spatial, social, economic, and political problems that have driven the cycle of urban violence.
Reflections on the Relations Between Urbanization and Development: Past Trajectories and Future Prospects
Diane E. Davis. 2016. “Reflections on the Relations Between Urbanization and Development: Past Trajectories and Future Prospects.” International Journal of Urban Sciences, 20, 1, Pp. 1-14. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This article examines the inter-relationship between economic prosperity and the growth of cities, tracing the field from its original preoccupation with over-urbanization and under-development in the 1950s and 1960s to its current fixation on dynamic global cities with redeveloped property markets that showcase new forms of wealth creation. The historical change in emphasis chronicled here is understood to be a combined product of three different causalities. The first is the shift from industrialization to financial and other services as the principal source of wealth creation in the post-1980s era. The second is the changing territorial scale of accumulation, reflected in the shifting importance of global markets vis-à-vis national markets and in the increasingly key mediating role that cities play in facilitating this transition. The third is the rescaling of state power, seen not just in terms of decentralization but also in the declining capacities of national states to discipline global investors in an era of intensifying economic liberalization. The entry ends with a discussion of the emergent social and spatial problems that accompany these shifts, ranging from the rise of urban informality to dispossession and displacement to newfound struggles over urban property rights.
Urban Violence and the Challenges to Historic Preservation: Can Constraints Become Opportunities?
Diane E. Davis. 2016. “Urban Violence and the Challenges to Historic Preservation: Can Constraints Become Opportunities?” In UNESCO Global Report on Culture for Sustainable Urban Development. Paris: UNESCO.
2015
Habitat Must Rethink the Role of Housing in Sustainable Urbanization
Diane E. Davis. 10/16/2015. “Habitat Must Rethink the Role of Housing in Sustainable Urbanization.” Citiscope. Publisher's Version
Can Planning Deal with Urban Violence: Interview with Diane Davis
Diane E. Davis. 4/20/2015. “Can Planning Deal with Urban Violence: Interview with Diane Davis.” Urbanologia.
Ambulatory Urbanism
Diane E. Davis. 2015. “Ambulatory Urbanism.” In Europe City. Barcelona and Zurich : CCCB and Lars Mueller Publishers.
Development and Urbanization
Diane E. Davis and Alexander M. Keating. 2015. “Development and Urbanization.” In International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, edited by James D. Wright, 2nd ed., 6: Pp. 282-289. Amsterdam: Elsevier. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This article examines the interrelationship between economic prosperity and the growth of cities, tracing the field from its original preoccupation with overurbanization and underdevelopment in the 1950s and 1960s to its current fixation on dynamic global cities with redeveloped property markets that showcase new forms of wealth creation. The historical change in emphasis chronicled here is understood to be combined product of three different causalities. The first is the shift from industrialization to financial and other services as the principal source of wealth creation in the post-1980s era. The second is the changing territorial scale of accumulation, reflected in the shifting importance of global markets vis-à-vis national markets and in the increasingly key mediating role that cities play in facilitating this transition. The third is the rescaling of state power, seen not just in terms of decentralization but also in the declining capacities of national states to discipline global investors in an era of intensifying economic liberalization. The article ends with a discussion of the emergent social and spatial problems that accompany these shifts, ranging from the rise of urban informality to dispossession and displacement to newfound struggles over urban property rights.
From Risk to Resilience: New Design Assemblages for Confronting Unknown Future
Diane E. Davis. 2015. “From Risk to Resilience: New Design Assemblages for Confronting Unknown Future.” Topos, Garten + Landschaft.
Policing, Regime Change, and Democracy: The Problem of Order in the Context of Political Transition
Diane E. Davis. 2015. “Policing, Regime Change, and Democracy: The Problem of Order in the Context of Political Transition.” In Building the Rule of Law in the Arab World, edited by Eva Bellin. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner.
Review of Spectacular Mexico: Design, Propaganda, and the 1968 Olympics by Luis M. Castañeda
Diane E. Davis. 2015. “Review of Spectacular Mexico: Design, Propaganda, and the 1968 Olympics by Luis M. Castañeda.” Planning Perspectives: The Journal of the International Planning History Society.

Pages