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Bernadette Baird-Zars

Tue, Feb 1, 2022    1:15pm

Ground Rules: How City Officials Tweak Urban Futures Through ‘Gray Institutions’ of Land Use

A lecture by Bernadette Baird-Zars, Post-doctoral Research Scholar at Columbia World Projects.

This lecture will be presented virtually, with a viewing option in Avery 114, please register in advance for the Zoom webinar link.

Predictable unwritten rules permeate daily negotiations over development. Yet how do these rules emerge, survive, and shape outcomes? In Mexico and beyond, local land use offices mediate the intense pressures and precarities of most peri-urban expansion. Using a sociological-institutionalist lens on over 40 interviews and 25 hours of observation in the municipality of Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, this presentation details how lower-level staff members and their interlocutors created and sustained an array of legal yet informal patterns of daily practice -‘gray institutions’- that in turn consistently shifted the requirements, time horizons, and shape of new subdivisions.

Bernadette Baird-Zars is currently a post-doctoral research scholar in urbanism and governance at Columbia World Projects. Her work examines implementation in land use planning, in particular under transition and uncertainty using institutional lenses. She is the co-author of a textbook on zoning (Routledge 2020), recently reviewed in JAPA, and several peer-reviewed articles. She has consulted for the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, Habitat for Humanity International and national and local government entities among others. She worked for several years in housing microfinance as well as for several years as a local staff planner in Aleppo, Syria. She holds a Ph.D in urban planning from Columbia, a M.C.P. from MIT, and a B.A. in education and political science from Swarthmore.

Organized by the PhD students in the Urban Planning Program at Columbia GSAPP. Free and open to the public.

Virtual events hosted on Zoom Webinar do not require an account to attend, advanced registration is encouraged. GSAPP is committed to providing universal access to all of our virtual events. Please contact up@arch.columbia.edu to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.