Is Informal Transit land-oriented? 

This project looks at how informal transit is an essential collective service in Quito, Ecuador. With the support of the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, this research is a collaborative endeavor with Elisa Puga, Bernhard Snizek, and Thomas Sick-Nielsen. 

Project Abstract: 

Like many Latin American cities, Quito has undergone rapid urban transformation due to transportation interventions in pursuit of improving equity and environmental outcomes. To achieve such ends municipalities plan for transit-oriented development, which has been studied under the rubric of housing provision and rail service, or bus-rapid transit and land-use decisions. Yet, informal transport continues to be a viable strategy for low-income residents living in peripheral areas to move around the city, as they are still built up through a relationship between informal and formal systems. In this context, we seek to investigate the relationship between informal transit and land-use regulation in Quito, Ecuador. We ask if informal transit is land-oriented? We seek to discover how informal transit lines route decisions are made if land-use policies have any influence, what type of spatial patterns surface and the impacts on low-income individuals. This research aims directly add to transit-oriented and sustainable development research by uncovering the nature of the relationship between land-use regulation and the surge of informal transit. By employing a mixed-methods approach, such a study can reveal the possibilities of informal transit as a continued and viable option for cities.

Informal transit and alternative economies

Through a seed grant from the Universidad San Francisco de Quito and in collaboration with the Feminist Research Institute at UC Davis to investigate how reproductive labor shapes new emerging alternative transit systems in California’s Central Valley and Quito, Ecuador. In 2017-2018 we are doing preliminary fieldwork in Quito with female domestic laborers who use informal transit to reach work. We will rely on identified informal transit companies from the interrelated project above and collaborate with women to give them audio recorders to better comprehend their work trips and daily travel experiences. We do this to uncover how dispossessed workers are a site of expertise and create alternative economies which are different than emergent sharing economies represented by Lyft, Uber or Cabify. This project will take an STS-justice centered approach to uncover how people solve their travel needs, emphasizing how States can work with existing alternative transit systems.

cycling for justice

I love to cycle and am interested in how urban cycling collectives pedal for climate justice. Through years of fieldwork in Quito, I collaborate and work with the collective Carishina en Bici and the organization Biciacción to make the streets of the Andean capital bicycle friendly.