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PLACA presents: Theresa Williamson

220 Eggers Hall

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Theresa Williamson, Founder and Executive Director, Catalytic Communities

Shantytown Gentrification, Property Titles, Eviction and the Struggle for Affordable Housing in Rio de Janeiro

Brazil’s recent economic successes have reshaped governmental policies toward its world-famous favelas (often translated as “shantytowns”). While some of these policies are promising, some have reinforced gentrifying trends. In this talk, Dr. Theresa Williamson will discuss some of these policies and their gentrifying effects, as well as new ideas for creating affordable housing in Rio’s favelas, including a look at the potential of Community Land Trusts.

Theresa Williamson is one of the world’s most respected sources of information about and advocate for Rio de Janeiro’s favelas as they face today’s fast-paced transformations. She is winner of the 2012 NAHRO John D. Lange International Award, and her work and commentaries have been featured in O Globo, Marie Claire, Tricycle, and quoted in The New York Times, Al Jazeera, Le Monde, NPR’s “Worldview”, and many other news outlets.

Theresa received her BA in Biological Anthropology from Swarthmore College, and her Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation, “Catalytic Communities: The Birth of a Dot Org”, won the 2005 Gill-Chin Lim Award for Best Dissertation on International Planning, and was a finalist for the 2004 Barclay Gibbs Jones Award for the Best Dissertation in Planning. Her articles have appeared in Progressive Planning, The Journal of Urban Technology, and, among other journals. Raised in the Washington, DC area, she is a dual Brazilian and British citizen, and currently lives in Rio de Janeiro, where she directs the NGO she founded, Catalytic Communities.

Discussant: Don Mitchell, Distinguished Professor of Geography, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University

Open to the public

Sponsored by the Program on Latin America and the Caribbean at the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs

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Exterior of Maxwell in black and white when there was no Eggers building

We’re Turning 100!

To mark our centennial in the fall of 2024, the Maxwell School will hold special events and engagement opportunities to celebrate the many ways—across disciplines and borders—our community ever strives to, as the Oath says, “transmit this city not only not less, but greater, better and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”

Throughout the year leading up to the centennial, engagement opportunities will be held for our diverse, highly accomplished community that now boasts more than 38,500 alumni across the globe.