Francis and Ricardo joined MIT’s Center for Advanced Urbanism (CAU) as research assistants at the beginning of Fall 2015. Prior to MIT, Francis worked as an architect at the intersection of design and social justice dealing with issues of affordability, equity, and sustainable development. Ricardo joined MIT with a background in architecture and civil engineering; having worked as the lead researcher developing projects for marginalized communities in Mexico.
As research assistants with the CAU, we have been contributing to the CAU’s applied research on affordable housing challenges in Latin America. In our first semester at the CAU, we joined the Global + Urbanism research team, collaborating with Mexico’s INFONAVIT, Latin America’s largest mortgage provider, and the Fundación Mario Santo Domingo in Colombia. During the fall semester we participated in a workshop with INFONAVIT’s directive body and MIT faculty members to provide initial project ideas for a more sustainable housing mortgage model.
During IAP, they plan to be involved with projects that consolidate our research experience at the CAU. Francis will carry out field research of an incremental affordable housing project in Ecuador with MIT’s Special Interest Group in Urban Settlement, and will be interning with Fundación Hogares to carry out evaluations of INFONAVIT’s social housing in Mexico. Meanwhile, Ricardo will intern with Mexico’s National Social Security Institute, where he will be providing advice and guidelines for the location of future social security hospitals and medical infrastructure, as well as social programs for underserved communities; he will also serve as a TA for a DUSP MIT practicum concerning transit-oriented development in Mexico City, Mexico.