Diana Bell tackled policy reform with the Habitat International Coalition in Mexico.
Diana Bell at a parade in Mexico City

Research and Policy for Displaced Communities

For two months, Diana worked with the Latin American offices of Habitat International Coalition (HIC- AL), in collaboration with a research center based in the MCP program called the Displacement Research Action Network (DRAN).  Diana’s work centered on deepening opportunities for long term collaboration between the two entities, DRAN and HIC- AL, with a focus on research and policy tools that asses the quantitative and qualitative impacts communities face when forcefully displaced from their homes due to hydroelectric dam mega projects or large scale construction projects. Specifically, Diana’s project focused on adapting the Eviction Impact Assessment Matrix, a methodology created by the HIC-AL network and the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing to comprehensively and systematically measure the impact of forced displacement on households, for use in Latin America.

Anti-eviction in Kenya, Egypt and India

To date it has been successfully used in major anti-eviction cases in Kenya, Egypt and India, and Diana’s work to adapt the tool to the Latin American context has laid the groundwork for the methodology to be implemented in the region. In addition to this work, Diana assisted HIC-AL and its international partners with its preparatory work towards the UN Habitat III conference. Diana’s analysis of the UN Habitat’s Issues Papers (on topics such as Inclusive Cities, Urban Governance and Urban and Spatial Planning) were included in the official commentary submitted to the United Nations, on behalf of HIC-AL and its dozens of international partners.

MISTI Preparation and Training

Diana’s says that MISTI’s prep and training sessions were key in helping her jump quickly and seamlessly into the project work. “Connecting with the MIT community in Mexico City was of invaluable support,” she says. “Not only did I receive great guidance on the essentials of navigating the incredible metropolis that is D.F, but I am also excited to say I had the opportunity to build professional connections and friendships I look forward to taking into my future.”

THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK IN MEXICO CITY THIS SUMMER, A HUB OF METROPOLITAN PLANNING WORK IN THE REGION, HAS BEEN ONE OF THE MOST TRANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENCES I HAVE HAD AT MIT (AND PROFESSIONALLY) TO BUILD THIS PATH.

Continuing the Project

Diana will be continuing this project over the academic year through her role as a research assistant with Displacement Research Action Network. In addition, the HIC-AL offices have asked Diana to work with them next year in their engagement and advocacy work at the UN Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador. 

  • Mexico
  • Internship
  • Arch & Planning