Clara Irazábal-Zurita / University of Missouri-Kansas City

Gui Auditorium / Knowlton Hall
November 7, 2018 - 5:30pm

Dr. Clara Irazábal-Zurita will present a lecture titled "The Counter Land Grabbing of the Precariat: Housing Movements and Restorative Justice in Brazil" in Knowlton Hall’s Gui Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 7. Irazábal is the Director of the Latina/o Studies Program and Professor of Planning with tenure in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design (AUPD) at the University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC). Before joining UMKC, Irazábal was the Latin Lab Director and Associate Professor of Urban Planning in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University.

Irazábal has a PhD in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Master in Urban Design and Planning from the Central University of Venezuela. In her research and teaching, she explores the interactions of culture, politics, and placemaking, and their impact on community development and socio-spatial justice in Latin American cities and Latino and immigrant communities. Irazábal has published academic work in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.

Irazábal is the author of Urban Governance and City Making in the Americas: Curitiba and Portland (Ashgate, 2005) and the editor of Transbordering Latin Americas: Liminal Places, Cultures, and Powers (T)Here (Routledge 2014) and Ordinary Places, Extraordinary Events: Citizenship, Democracy, and Public Space in Latin America (Routledge 2008, 2015). Irazábal has worked as consultant, researcher, and/or professor in multiple countries of the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

About the lecture

The Counter Land Grabbing of the Precariat: Housing Movements and Restorative Justice in Brazil 

Brazil’s precariat, politically organized in national social housing movements, are courageously pressing for a true urban reform in Brazil, whose promise has been systematically delayed and subverted even by those who were put in power to realize it. By seizing vacant buildings and underused land, not only are these unsung heroes/heroines confronting neoliberalism in Brazil at a time of the model’s highest level of hegemony in the country and the world. They are unveiling the impossibility of the system to deliver socio-spatial justice to the poor and are enacting an alternative. Through a restorative justice practice, they go beyond critique and show us a substitute project that would allow millions of people in Brazil access to decent housing, and through it, to myriad of other opportunities—the right to the city. As shown in the experiences of these housing struggles, restorative justice deserves further exploration as an alternative planning mode that can combine the strengths of advocacy planning and communicative action while reducing their drawbacks. These reflections are based on team ethnographic and planning studio work.