- Research Interests/Specializations
Disaster Governance; Development Finance; Publics; Populism; Resilience; Critical Urban Geography
- MCP, City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley
- BA, Public (Urban) Policy, Mills College (Distinction)
My research is an ethnography of México’s development finance and disaster governance infrastructures as they deteriorate and reemerge under conditions of political uncertainty. Since 1996, México’s lauded sovereign program for disaster recovery—the Fondo de Desastres Naturales (Natural Disaster Fund, or FONDEN)—has evolved to include state trusts to secure disaster risk. In 2006, México incorporated sovereign catastrophe bonds into the program—the first instruments of their kind and a model for other nation-states. In 2020, the sovereign program was dismantled after a regime shift to populism introduced ‘post-neoliberalism’ rhetoric that places technocratic expertise (like that of the World Bank) directly at odds with 'democracy'. Because the bonds persist with the support of the Bank and the sovereign program is gone, México’s disaster governance has been effectively supplanted to global (re)insurance markets and private capital, creating a space of contention between México's ‘populist resilience regime’ its own antineoliberal agenda.
I use an ethnographic approach to explore this regime, performing a postmortem of the sovereign program and an analysis of the existing catastrophe bond(s), answering the questions: How do catastrophe bonds integrate with, support, or supplant political economic structures? What are the implications of supplanting government funding with private finance for ‘everyday’ disasters, and for whom? How is the populist resilience regime taken up or resisted?
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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
CP/LA 241 Research Methods in Environmental Design: Data Collection in the Field
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
- 2021-22 U.S. Dept. of Education—Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship (Mexico)
- 2021 Summer U.S. Dept. of Education—Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship
- 2021 Global Metropolitan Studies (GMS) Summer Pre-Dissertation Fieldwork Grant (Mexico)
- 2020-21 Blum Center for Developing Economies’ InFEWS (NSF) Academic Year Fellowship
- 2019-20 InFEWS (NSF) Winter Travel Grant to Mexico City
- 2019 Global Metropolitan Studies (GMS) Summer Pre-Dissertation Fieldwork Grant (Mexico)
- 2018-19 InFEWS (NSF) Winter Travel Grant to Mexico City
- 2014 Outstanding Senior Thesis Award, Mills College
- Selected Publications
McElvain, B., Mattiuzzi, L. 2021. "Co-Producing Pono: Thinking Resilience Through Novel Participatory Practice on Hawaii’s Big Island." Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. (Forthcoming)
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. (Forthcoming)
Moreno, M., McElvain, B. 2020. "Life Above, Rubble Below: A Case of Historically Produced Risk & Perception in Mexico City." Ardeth Magazine 06: Contingency. 2020.
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.