- Research Interests/Specializations
Resilience; Disaster Governance; Development Finance; Science and Technology Studies; Critical Urban Geography
- MCP, City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley
- BA, Public (Urban) Policy, Mills College (Distinction)
While cities can anticipate an increasing frequency and severity of climate related disasters, political uncertainty and global pandemic fallout are producing fiscal crises in state and local economies. This convergence of crises exposes a ‘muddy politics’ that upends implicit assumptions about the existence of a functioning state and its role in addressing climate risk.
My current research explores how this muddiness came to the surface in Mexico City, where a recent political regime shift and pandemic pressures resulted in deep austerity measures, which have dismantled Mexico’s complex infrastructure of bonds and trusts used for disaster recovery and climate adaptation in the capital. Characterizing Mexico City as a case of ‘planning in the mud’ that is becoming increasingly pervasive globally, my work traces adaptation finance to explore how urban resilience is made and unmade in increasingly uncertain times.
E-mail me at email@example.com.
- Courses Taught
ED4C Future Ecologies
GEOG c188 Geographic Information Systems
CP204c Methods for Planners: Introduction to GIS + City Planning
CP119 Planning for Sustainability
CP202 Gateway Introduction to Planning Practice
D-Lab: QGIS Fundamentals + AGOL Workshops
City College of San Francisco (BAYGEO): Introduction to GIS
embARC Summer Design Academy: Sustainable Planning + Design/Build
- Awards + Recognition
- 2020-21 Recipient of the Blum Center for Developing Economies’ InFEWS Academic Year Fellowship ($34,000)
- 2019-20 InFEWS (NSF) Winter Travel Grant to Mexico City ($2,000)
- 2019 Global Metropolitan Studies (GMS) Summer Pre-Dissertation Fieldwork Grant ($3,500)
- 2018-19 InFEWS (NSF) Winter Travel Grant to Mexico City ($2,500)
- 2014 Outstanding Senior Thesis Award, Mills College ($500)
- Selected Publications
McElvain, B. (2021). Agua Bajo Tierra: Mapping Hydraulic Imaginaries in Iztapalapa, chapter in “Mexico City: Space | Power | Materiality.” Edited volume by Greig Chrysler and María Moreno. (Expected)
McElvain, B., Moreno, M. (2020). "Life Above, Rubble Below: A Case of Historically Produced Risk & Perception in Mexico City." Ardeth Magazine 06: Contingency. Forthcoming.
Nikolaou, S., Diaz-Fanas, G., Garini, E., & McElvain, B. (2019). "Dried Lakes Do Tell Tales: Seismic Soil Amplification in Mexico City." Geo-Strata—Geo Institute of ASCE, 23(2), 40-46.