Isadora Cruxên


I’m a PhD candidate in International Development in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. My work focuses on the political economy of development and examines how relations between state and financial actors shape economic and political development broadly and the provision of urban infrastructure services in particular.

My current dissertation research examines variation in private investor behavior and engagement in public-private partnerships (PPPs) for the provision of water and sanitation in cities in Latin America to understand the conditions under which such collaborations can help address water sustainability and service provision challenges. This project builds on my early doctoral work on the corporate governance of mixed-ownership water and sanitation companies in Brazil, which resulted in a working paper that won the Global Planning Educators Interest Group award for Best Student Paper in International Planning, presented at the 2018 conference of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning.

I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Brasília and a Master in City Planning from DUSP. Prior to coming to MIT, I worked for two years as a research fellow at the Institute for Applied Economic Research in Brazil, where I explored the potential for state-society interactions taking place within participatory institutions to deepen democratic decision-making across a range of policy domains. As a Master’s student at DUSP, my research focused on the politics of water supply provision in moments of crisis by examining the emergence of new forms of social mobilization in response to a water crisis in São Paulo, Brazil.

I’m currently co-editing the 14th edition of Projections, the journal of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Titled "New uses for old rivers", the edition assembles contributions focusing on the political, economic, and social processes shaping river restoration and waterfront redevelopment projects in cities across the globe. My research interests have also shaped my engagement in the MIT community: I was an active member of the MIT Water Club, serving as Co-Vice President, Lecture Series Chair, and Media and Communications Director of the club.

MIT Spectrum Interview