December 12: Vanessa Guerra “Beyond Informality: A new approach to inclusive cities”

As cities deal with the effects of climate change and population growth, informal practices have become more common over the years. Although these practices are often stereotyped as urban mistakes, acknowledging the potential of the informal sector, and paying attention to what we can learn from it, could lead to the start of a new approach to alleviate poverty, empower isolated communities, and promote sustainable development.

PhD candidate in Environmental Design and Planning at the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech. Researcher at the Global Forum for Urban Regional Resilience (GFURR) and DE Lab Decision Engineering for Sustainable Infrastructure. Her work focus on urban interventions as potential contributions to poverty reduction and sustainable development. Her research interests include informal urbanism, sustainable transport, spatial justice and urban inequality. She has presented her work in several conferences across the United States, the United Kingdom and South America, and has spoken at a TEDx event in Quito-Ecuador and at Cityworks (Xpo) in Roanoke. Prior to Virginia Tech, Vanessa worked as a project architect, participated with the University of Melbourne-Australia in the project “How Sustainable Transport Networks Build Great Cities” at Munich and Zurich, and taught at USFQ University in Quito-Ecuador, where she also coordinated the seminar “Ecuador towards Habitat III”