Gabriella Carolini
Ford Career Development Assistant Professor of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Gabriella Carolini

Gabriella is an assistant professor in the International Development Group, and an affiliated professor with the Housing, Community, and Economic Development Group, in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) at MIT. She is currently the co-chair of the Global Planning Educators’ Interest Group within the American Collegiate Schools of Planning, a collaborating member of the Displacement Research and Action Network, and works with the UrbanAfrica student initiative at MIT. Prior to arriving at DUSP, she taught at Rutgers’ Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, and worked in various capacities with the UN Millennium Project, UNFPA, UN-HABITAT, Rockefeller Foundation, Center for Sustainable Urban Development at Columbia’s Earth Institute, Oxford Analytica and a private management consultancy focusing on fixed income finance in New York. Gabriella has studied and been an affiliated researcher in universities in Brazil, France, Mozambique, and the UK. She holds a BA in Political Science from Columbia (1997), a Master of Philosophy in Development Studies with a concentration on Economics from the University of Oxford (2002), and a PhD in Urban Planning from Columbia (2008), where she was a NSF-IGERT fellow in international development and globalization.

Areas of work

South-South Cooperation

Water and Sanitation

Urban Development


South-South Cooperation, Learning, and Urban Development

Mobilizing for Adequate, Accessible, and Affordable (A³) Water and Sanitation Services

Balancing Patience and Urgency in International Development Planning Pedagogy

Subsidies and Communicable Disease

Water and Citizenship




Gabriella Carolini, "Perverting progress? The challenges of implementing both fiscal and social responsibility in São Paulo (1995–2010)," Urban Studies, Feb 2013, Vol. 40 (2), 356-371 (originally published online 6 June 2012). [Abstract] [Full text via MIT access]

Gabriella Carolini, "Framing water, sanitation, and hygiene needs among female-headed households in periurban Maputo, Mozambique," American Journal of Public Health, Feb 2012, Vol.102 (2), 256-261. [Abstract] [Full text via MIT access]

Gabriella Carolini, "The tools of whose trade? How international accounting guidelines are failing governments in the global South," Third World Quarterly, 2010, Vol. 31 (3), 469-483. [Abstract and Full text via MIT access]

Elliott Sclar, Pietro Garau, and Gabriella Carolini, "The 21st century health challenge of slums and cities," The Lancet, March 2005, Vol. 365 (9462), 901-903. [Beginning sentences from The Lancet] [Full text via 2006 Millenium Project]

Pietro Garau, Elliott Sclar, and Gabriella Carolini, "You can’t have one without the other: environmental health is urban health," American Journal of Public Health, Nov 2004, Vol. 94 (11), 1848. [Full text]

Books and Chapters

Gabriella Carolini, “Valuing Possibility: South-South Cooperation and Participatory Budgeting in Maputo, Mozambique” in Urban Planning in Sub-Saharan Africa: colonial and postcolonial planning cultures, Edited by Carlos Nunes Silva. London: Routledge (forthcoming).

Gabriella Carolini, "Organizations of the urban poor and equitable urban development : process and product," In "The New Global Frontier : Urbanization, Poverty and Environment in the 21st Century" ed. by George Martine et al., London; Sterling, VA: Earthscan, 2008. [Google books preview] [MIT book record]

Pietro Garau, Elliott Sclar, and Gabriella Y Carolini, "A home in the city," UN Millennium Project. Task Force on Improving the Lives of Slum Dwellers. London; Sterling, VA: Earthscan, 2005. [Full text]

Research Team

Jennifer Ly

Jennifer Ly is a Master in City Planning candidate in the Housing, Community, and Economic Development Group. Prior to coming to MIT, Jennifer advanced initiatives in environmental sustainability, community health, and equitable development in low-income and communities of color at the City of Richmond, California. Originally from Los Angeles, Jennifer graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with degrees in Conservation & Resource Studies and Environmental Economics & Policy.

Anisha Anantapadmanabhan

Anisha Anantapadmanabhan is a Master in City Planning candidate at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Her research interests include water resources management, pricing dynamics and innovative policymaking in the field. Having worked in the private and social sectors prior to graduate school, Anisha has a diverse background in finance, strategic planning and project implementation in the areas of rural education, public health, and environmental sustainability.

Isadora Cruxen

Isadora Cruxen is a Master in City Planning candidate in the International Development Group at MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Prior to coming to MIT, Isadora worked as a research assistant at the Institute for Applied Economic Research in Brazil on projects about public participation in policy development. She was also involved in organizing and facilitating participatory processes, such as the elaboration of Brazil's Plan of Action for the Open Government Partnership. She is particularly interested in participatory planning, collective action, and water governance. She is currently the Lecture Series Chair of the MIT Water Club.
MIT Spectrum Interview: "Lessons from the MIT Water Club"

Former Research Assistants

Laura Martin, Master in City Planning 2014, MIT
Lilia Pharazyn da Silva, Master in City Planning 2014, MIT
George Beane, Master in City Planning 2014, Master of Science in Architecture Studies 2015, MIT
Emily J. Eros, Master in City Planning 2014, MIT
Benjamin H. Bradlow, Master in City Planning 2013, MIT

News & Resources



Portuguese Language

Contact || (617) 253-6254 || Office: 9-515

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Department of Urban Studies & Planning

77 Massachusetts Avenue, Building 9-515
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Harriette Crawford (support staff)
(617) 253-7736
Office: 9-519